My June Hearts

It was my goal at the beginning of the year to at least blog once a month, aaaand to try new things, aaaannnddd get out of the comfort zone, and share with others…blah blah blah…and that doesn’t always happen right? But here I am! Sharing with you a few things I have enjoyed these past few weeks. **Pats self on back*** (after being on “to do list” since May).

But here is what I would like to share with you–Things I have been hearting: “The It Got Hot Really Fast June Edition.”

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(A recent heart above from my last trip–Puerto Rico)

  1. Wu Chow–I have had the pleasure of enjoying this Asian restaurant a few times already this year for several celebrations. The reason you must go: Family style awesomeness. They accommodate big parties. They can do customized menus for your party. They aren’t an arm and a leg (they aren’t at food truck prices, but reasonable for the amount of food you get unlike a lot of these new fancy shmancy places that have popped up). They even print your party’s name on the menu. And it is SO DELICIOUS. The soup dumplings. The prawns. The duck. The greenbeans. I could go on. ALL OF IT…soo good.

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2.  Airrosti–The first few months of this year (and honestly on and off for maybe the past 2-ish years I have had a lot of pain in my lower back, glutes and lately the left hammy) it comes and goes based on activities, what I lift, how much I drive, and sadly jogging now, but lately it’s been the most unbearable. So I gave Airrosti a try. What the hell is Airrosti, you ask? Treatment centers (lots of locations) that’s one part assessment one part education…ok an another part pressure points-working on the actual area it hurts. I am not going to lie, my pain hasn’t exactly subsided. “Then why are you saying you like this place, Ashley,” you ask? Because I think it could help a lot of my fellow athletes. It has also reiterated the importance of foam rolling, stretching, warming up and taught me a few things to do. I did see a difference after the first appointment. But come my fourth–without me doing my homework, not so much. {The analogy I can think of is how you don’t floss that often until right before your appt, when you should be doing it every day}. Ain’t nobody got time to foam roll errday! Other perks: they take insurance, and you don’t need a referral like you do to see a PT. At my specific location I saw a Chiro, but I am not sure if that’s how they all operate, but could be a good start if you’ve had some pain.

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(Yep, that’s me above…doin’ my thing)

3. Headspace— It’s an app. Over the past few years my business and social life seem to be non-stop, and at times what I call “head spinning busy,” which I am not going to lie, I kinda like. When I am “burning the candle at both ends” as my Dad would say, I seem to get more done and feel more accomplished. BUT…yes, that’s not “good” for you. In addition to Headspace…I have always journaled, and last year I switched my journaling to positives only…and man what a great year I had. However, sometimes there needs to not be any thoughts. Sometimes we need a breather. A moment of silence/stillness…time to ourselves and that’s where this app comes in. {Sidenote if you are worried you don’t have time and won’t be successful–Bill Gates and many top CEOs and successful leaders block time daily to have NO distractions, only time to think/process/be creative or read… and a little “me time”} Headspace is a meditation app. I was told years ago by my therapist to give it a whirl, and I think I did it for five minutes one day and never again, but I have picked it back up (some). Little by little. And that’s where the app comes in. Starts you nice and slow for you beginner meditators–guided practice. I have also used it to fall asleep a few times, ha. It is not always easy to find the time to just sit and do nothing when we have a busy work day ahead of us and a million things to do. And as they say–those who think meditation is not easy are the ones who need it the most. So if you don’t do yoga, work on your breathing, or get daily “me time” and feel overworked, bogged down, exhausted by your constant to do list & overthinking with many items running through your head–you may want to start with Headspace.

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4. You Are a Bad Ass–By Jen Sencero. Yep, it’s a book. My accountability group reads a business-ish related book ever so often However, I decided to add this one to the mix since I finished our other read early. P.S I have found that audible is my new bestie while driving, cooking, folding laundry or getting ready in the AM. I have been blowing through some of my favorite reads (self improvement) And yes, I called it self “improvement” not self “help.” I needed a little pick-me-up after a rough start to the year, professionally and personally and I feel as though listening to the Author read her book to me put a little spring in my step. Am I going to change overnight? Of course not, but sometimes I think we all need a little pep talk and this is what that book did for me–a little mindset adjustment I needed. I do think it sliiiightly appeals to the female crowd more, but I would like a male take on it. {Runners up for this month in the self improvement category are: Slight Edge and Happiness Advantage. If you need a mindset shift, backed with science and studies, then I HIGHLY recommend The Happiness Advantage too!}

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There’s a few other things I would like to share, but since we are mid-way through June, I will attempt to save them for July and see how things are coming along. I am always open to suggestions on books, things to try, etc and welcome your opinions and comments!

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(can we take a vote to see if this should actually count as part of my heart collection?)

Have a wonderful Summer! Cheers.

 

Cheers to All the Moms

When I was in 6th grade we had to write about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Yes, even as a child I was a night owl and one of my favorite shows was Donna Reed (a 50’s show they played on Nick at Nite when I stayed up late enough to watch). Donna seemed to live this perfect, happy life. She made breakfast every morning for her family, sent them off with lunch each day, handled it all, kept a clean house AND wore a dress, heels and pearls while doing it. I wanted to be Donna. And believe it or not–I wrote my paper that year on why I wanted to be a “housewife.”

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Wow. Funny how things change.

This picture below I caught on a friend’s Facebook page…I don’t even have kids and I can’t tell you how much I love it (and maybe because I relate?? or at least hear about this enough) Take a moment to squint and read it please:
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Hell, I just finished up Big Little Lies and I am not even a rich mom in CA living in a beautiful home on a coast and I kinda related to that show. How did we get to be so judgmental? As women–and really as a society as a whole?

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It’s 2017 now. And having children…not gonna lie, kinda terrifies me. I used to think I wanted kids. I mean, I do want kids. I mean, I think I do. I mean, it may be too late. I mean, if I meet the right guy maybe. I mean…hell I don’t know anymore! I am in my thirties now. Many of my friends and co-workers have kids and are having kids and ya know what? It doesn’t look easy and it doesn’t look fun. Is life always easy or fun? No. And I get it–there’s lots of fantastic things about having a family but I think what I have realized the most (or perhaps dreaded the most) is that the role of a Mother in 2017 has changed…a lot.

While I realize I don’t speak for ALL women, my perception of being a mother these days is sad. Not in the sense that being a mom is a sad role, but I am sad for Moms. You mamas do SO much. SO. MUCH. I get that some of it is in our wiring as a woman–yeah, yeah we are naturally “more nurturing” or can “multi-task better than men.” The role of a mother has changed, especially with more women “in the workforce.”

And not to knock guys (though I know I am really good at that), but the expectations of Motherhood are seemingly scary (again like the first photo I had mentioned above). Have a kid, but don’t bring them in this World with “drugs,” and while you are pregnant don’t have that wine, and you better be eating healthy or that kid is gonna have the beetus…then after you have that kid, feed them, nourish them, don’t sleep, fold the laundry and be sure to get back into your bikini body, while getting up 3x a night, managing the calendar of your home, get botox, pluck your grays, don’t nag at your partner, ask for help, but not too much help. Then return to work 9wks later while still in the middle of breastfeeding or not–(and get judged for quitting to soon) because you make as much as it would cost to have someone else take care of your child) and love them, but not too much, teach them tough love, but don’t bring them up to be heartless. Let them speak their mind, but teach them how to be open minded…Don’t forget to make dinner, network, get promoted, buy a bigger house for your growing family, be a supportive spouse and drink 62oz of water a day! All the while they’re going to grow up and still disappoint you, blame you for why the way they are (only the negative attributes) while costing an arm and a leg–and don’t even get me started on health care and insurance for all of this stuff too.

And while I don’t have a child of my own and can’t experience this “special bond” or joy of having a child and all that comes with it (ahem the positive attributes of course)–to those of you Moms that do it all (and I know so many of you)…I commend YOU! I really do.

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{Side Note: This task is not something I want to do alone (if at all) making it all the more hard to find a partner willing to contribute to raising a normal, hopefully healthy child…All the while helping out semi-equally, being supportive, calming yet humorous, financially responsible yet fun, a positive male figure, yet vulnerable, keeping me sane while educating and disciplining yet loving (especially if we have a girl, because I don’t want her to have “daddy issues” and at 13yo posting 30 seductive selfies a day to Instagram). Sigh.}

So with that…to my single moms who have had maybe more time with their child than their partner–who have raised these little humans, sacrificing all that I mentioned above (with little to no help-emotionally, physically and financially) and more–double bonus points for YOU!! xoxo

To my own Mom, aunts, friends, siblings, clients and co-workers who have birthed/adopted, raised, cared for, held, dressed, fed, cleaned up after, encouraged, listened to, taught manners to and curated a decent human being on this planet…{while still remaining sane}–I admire you, because this is no easy task! Happy Mother’s Day!

happy mothers day

P.S Why is it on Mother’s Day we have to take our mom’s to brunch or dinner or spend time with them but on Father’s Day we “let dad have a day to himself” or go play golf? Ya know what I think? You Moms can have a day to yourself too! Just leave…leave and don’t tell anyone where you are going and put that phone on silent. You can do it. (I mean unless of course you are breastfeeding, leave a bottle behind or something). That is all.

P.S.S For a good laugh-if you have seen this male anchor get interrupted by his kids while on air, you have to watch this parody! Go moms.

 

Whole 30: Round 2…A kickoff to 2017

“New Year, New Me!” blah blah blah…

I don’t really believe that above quote, because people don’t change overnight, but I do think it’s time for a little cleanse. Back in June I blogged of my experience testing Whole 30 with some lovely peeps from my gym and here I am again.

Yep, here comes another challenge of me laying off: the booze, the sugar, the processed foods, legumes, dairy and grains. Sounds pretty terrible, right?

I weighed myself a few weeks ago and yikes!! Twelve pounds up since August. (And oddly enough the same weight I was in December 2015, haha, oh the holidays). I keep track by writing it down in my phone here and there but I wouldn’t say that’s obsessive. (Do you?)

After my vacation (PS have you read my blog on packing, it is pretty awesome)-which was 3wks of on the go food, only walking and lots of wine  (Sep), then there was Halloween, then I moved myself, then Thanksgiving and then hit December-just like that. Time flies. I went to an event or party in December almost daily and barely found time to workout as well (ahem not terribly motivated when cold outside or too busy). And naturally topped off December with NYE–a partying weekend in Miami wishing I had worked out more the month prior.

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{Above: Barbie and I thoroughly enjoying our Euro vacation (these are from Florence). Wine, gelato, wine and Italian food were the main ingredients oh and wine, did I mention wine?}

So now, it is that time again. I can’t think of a better month than January. And, naturally I will be blogging daily to hold myself accountable (but also show you that if I can do it, so can you). This month will most likely be Whole 27 for me. As I leave for Mexico in the beginning of February for my lovely sister’s wedding (also another motivation for me to de-bloat and trim down for a beach wedding).

Jan 3 Day 1:

Went to HEB. Stocked up on items using this helpful list. Came home, grabbed a garbage back and tossed everything not W30 approps. Then I took all my booze and dumped it down the drain. JUST KIDDING! I am not crazy. I put it in a box and hid it from myself. I pinned a few recipes on Pinterest too (my Whole 30 Board here). I didn’t eat much yesterday due to lack of creativity and being busy but I did meal prep. I totally need to drink more water, I am still dehydrated from traveling and every time I sit up in bed or move too quickly I get dizzy. That can’t be good.

deep eddy graptefruit bottle

Meal prep: cut up veggies and fruits ready to go. And made a pork loin in crockpot as well as spaghetti squash ready to go.

Jan 4 Day 2:

Breakfast: Kicked off the AM with some of the pulled pork and spinach scrambled and two over-medium eggs on top. Trying to chug some water when I think of it. Also had some fruit as a snack while I worked.

Fruit for a snack, a Lara bar, some plantain chips and guac was kind of my lunch.  An apple before dodgeball

Workout: Soul Cycle (it was a scorcher!) then a dodgeball game

Dinner: Two eggs (yes this is a W30 staple) the rest of my avocado from yesterday and some bacon.

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(Been snapping my Whole 30 adventures with a few others, and I think it helps).

Feels: Dehydrated still, trying to drink more water and sleepy. I read about what I need to be eating pre and post workout–and that needs to improve fo sho. At times I often run errands after working out when I need to be refueling-protein, little fat and dense veggies. Same goes for pre-workout-eating 15-75min before and protein and a little fat. Where I go wrong: grabbing fruit (let’s face it, it is tasty and easy).

Jan 5 Day 3:

I woke up kind of late today. (I am too embarrassed to say how late, honestly. Working from home is nice and I didn’t set an alarm). Pulled pork, spinach and a few cherry tomatoes in an omelette for breakfast. Chugged a glass of water.

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Snacked on some berries again I had prepped and of course my go to guac and plantain chips as I worked. Rushed off to show a house, caught up in traffic, skipped the gym and decided to hit up Whole Foods for some recipes.

Hosted a few friends and made this delish pizza bake from PaleOMG, snacked on sweet potatoes while cooking (in usual fashion). Prepped a dish for my W30 Potluck tomorrow too. Caught up with some of my closest friends so tonight was a success and I don’t feel guilty about skipping a workout.

Jan 6 Day 4 of Whole 30:

This AM I woke up to make myself breakfast and knock out a little cleaning before my air bnb guest checked in. Yep, you guessed it: bacon and eggs and a little bit of avocado (most of it was brown dangit). So disappointing. I say it now, but I may change my mind, but I can’t get tired of bacon and eggs!

Snack at the office: bell peppers and an apple.

Lunch: leftover from the pizza bake last night.

Dinner: I hosted a whole 30 potluck. Success! We had guac x2, dump ranch (pretty amazing considering it is “clean”), veggie tray, bacon wrapped chicken, buffalo cauliflower bites, zucchini noodle avocado salad, chicken meatballs, buffalo chicken chili (my contribution, little spicy but when it is 30 degrees out, it was perfect). Brussel sprouts, plantain chips of course and to feel fancy I bought this flavored la criox and mixed with coconut water and drank them out of wine glasses :)

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So filling. After everyone left, because I ALWAYS want sweet after I eat, I had a Lara bar-here’s a list of the compliant bars in case you don’t want to read the labels (but they’r literally 2-5 ingredients).

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(My dish for the potluck dinner, bit spicy but awesome-PaleOmg.com)

Saturday Jan 7 Day 5:

Despite the thermometer reading 23 degrees out, I went to Crossfit and did the AM workout. Ran 2 errands and then came home and had the usual-bacon, eggs and half a small avocado. Goal: eat sooner after I work out, but working on it.

Feels so far: I keep having dizzy spells. Could be dehydration, but it occurs by sitting up to fast usually or quick movement. I nearly fell over the other day and Molly looked at me like I was crazy.

Cedar fever and cold weather not helping motivation level, it’s snuggle in bed weather fo sho….but plowing through regardless. Motivation: 2.4.17 wedding in Mexico…and my health of course.

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Snacking: berries, melon as I prepped my favorite Whole30 soup-Tom Kha (and I am NOT a soup person, but hey it’s 30 degrees here in Tx). I am still bored and have time to kill AND just started West World (PS having your kitchen open/facing TV now makes such a difference!)

Dinner: Made fried cauliflower fried rice with shrimp (confession I added peas…just a little, I already had some in the freezer, I am such a cheater ya’ll), then went bowling with friends (also doing Dryuary-get it dry as in sober + January?!, so that wasn’t too bad!) Packed a Lara bar and bell peppers in my bag for a snack….watched chubby kids eat cake and ice cream around me at a birthday party and was quite jealous.

My tom kha soup was ready when I got home-I spooned it into dishes for the week. Went to bed a little past midnight.

Sunday Jan 8 Day 6:

I swear, the most interesting thing about Whole 30 is I still wake up groggy and feeling slightly hungover, maybe that’s just how I am in the mornings no matter what??

Breakfast: With leftover cauliflower rice I made cauliflower cakes and did a fried egg on top with bacon and half an avocado (nope, still not tired).

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I also experimented and did a paleo pancake (banana+egg) for a little something sweet. Molly has been super lucky to get a little here and there while on Whole 30, egg whites mainly.

My cauliflower rice needs work. I should have used a grater and not a food processor, the consistency would have been better, good thing I have 20 something days to perfect it.

Off to show houses, packing snacks and my gym clothes. It is going to be a productive Sunday!

(picking this up where I left off, showed homes from about 12-5ish)

Hit a very short workout at gym (new gym has stupid hours on Sunday). So completed stair master for 20min. big whoop, but better than nothing I guess.

Came home to eat. I was feeling pretty weak this evening. Unsure why-but ravenous. I ate some leftover stir fry. Leftover tom kha soup. Snacked on plantain chips aaaaaand guac. Then I had some bare apple chips, love those things. what else? I got sweet potatoes in the oven now and all I want is a glass of wine, something good on Netflix. BUT…BUT…I will finish typing this blog, do some work, and hopefully get to sleep a little early tonight to get a good start on the week.

Midnight Confession: I found a Whole Foods 365 brand vanilla bean ice cream in my freezer from like a month ago with four bites left. Ok, five, it was five. And I ate it (I did add a few strawberries, does that make it better?) I had to get rid of it–so instead of trashing it, I ate it. Why am I so weak?! Quitting sugar cold turkey is hard. Forgive me.

Monday Jan 9 Day 7:

Woke up and didn’t eat, had to run to my AM meeting. But right after that I had some leftovers (duh) soup, “fried rice” and then on my way to show properties I had some roasted sweet potatoes and a Lara Bar.

I ended up showing for a long time. So what do you do when you are in Cedar Park and your stomach is about to eat itself and you want to cave sooo bad? I had a banana and some almonds from the Valero gas station, fun huh?

Worked out with friends, did the Sauna. Pit stop at Whole Foods, nearly passed out-I NEED more water, why do I do this to myself? (Also, I keep meaning to put total what I spend on groceries). I am still determined I spend less than if I were going out to eat and socializing and drinking, but the bill adds up as you walk around and grab a few more Lara Bars ($1.29 ea at whole foods), an onion for this recipe, some snacks to hold you over, and of course pre-cut fruit when you are on the go at WF is also $8.00. Ugh.

You know those cool videos on Facebook that make cooking look easy? Well that’s what I attempted today-and it was actually really easy and tasty from Goodful, recipe HERE. At the same time I cleared out some stuff in the fridge and did the spaghetti bake for this week’s meals among the other leftovers.

lemon chick and spaghetti squash

I also decided to start marinating my brussel sprouts in this Tessemae’s balsamic, for maybe something I cook up tonight-will let you know how it goes. If you haven’t tried this line, I hear it is good stuff, but I will let you know.

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Tuesday Jan 10 Day 8:

That’s it? It’s only been 8 days?! For some reason I feel weaker on this challenge than my first go round….or maybe I just can’t recall the bad and only remember the good (like when you think of a past ex when you’re sad, right?)

Breakfast: Confession, didn’t eat one, was running late, grabbed a bag of carrots I had in fridge in ziplock.

“Failure to plan. Plan to fail.” That quote comes to mind today as I had a meeting, then worked from office after running errands. Ugh I want cheeseballs (there’s always a huge tub in our office kitchen). I want popcorn. I want ANYTHING bc I am hungry.

But I do this thing where I get in the zone and just keep working. Left office at 3pm.

Snack: Found some almonds in my car from yesterday-finished those.

Late Lunch: My leftover spaghetti bake I made last night for the next few days.

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Dinner: After showing houses and yoga, yes I did yoga. What the hell is happening to me, right? I had leftover spaghetti again, on top of baby arugula for some greens and a coconut cream pie Lara bar for “dessert.” I also snacked on berries for about 5min with the fridge door open deciding what to eat. And now I am back on the blog and laptop and back to work for a busy day manana (Which I plan on prepping for tonight so I don’t eat my arm. Is my arm whole 30 approved? I think so).

Feels: My current feels/mood…hmm I bought some new pots for the kitchen, because I am a f’n paleo chef now and should have my own blog. Kidding of course. I have been cooking quite a bit but still looking forward to when I am done with Whole 30. Lifts up shirt in bathroom mirror and ask myself “did I lose 10lbs yet?” I feel like I should come up with some tasty salad creations, I am craving more “fresh and cold and crunchy” than these casseroles I keep making. Maybe that’s the weather going from 30 to 70. Who knows. This blog is like every man’s worst nightmare: What a female ate daily and her random inner thoughts.

Wednesday Jan 11 W30 day 9:

Happy Birthday Bethany! (in case you are reading)

Breakfast: At home-bacon strips (too crispy dangit), 2 eggs, and an avocado. Mmm.

Lunch: Kombucha, salad bar from whole foods with roasted turkey and a lara bar to top it off.

Then I took some potential clients to lunch. They hadn’t eaten yet and ya’ll….

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I, Ashley Brinkman took them to Torture Tacos.. I mean Torchy’s but it was a bit of Torture. I sat there and watched them eat chips and queso as we discussed houses and hoods. They also had the baja, the trailer park, the wrangler (trashy style) and fried avocado, tried them all and shared. I sat there. And commented on the salsas. They also had a margarita and a beer….mmm margarita.

Showed homes until about 7:30pm where I came home and ate everything in site (leftover spaghetti bake, leftover tom kha, berries, and plantain chips), then ran to dodgeball (not literally).

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(the things I find in pantries when showing houses).

Post dodgeball I was near an HEB and decided I need prosciutto for some egg cups I am going to make soon. Oh I also want to make this frittata some time soon!

Wanted cake. Had a banana. Success!

Told myself I would be in bed by 11pm.

It’s midnight now.

And tomorrow I have another full day…here we go. Keep you posted on if I cave, but the sugar craving has been very strong. You don’t realize how much temptation is out there and readily available until you tell yourself you can’t have it (don’t need it and “don’t blow it now Ashley”) Night night!

Thursday Jan 12 Whole 30 day 10:

Breakfast: made egg cups this am, had a few of those as I got my stuff ready for appts.

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During day: Had an appt, packed snacks. Made a pit stop and bought a Kombucha (the GT’s brand is really tasty and doesn’t have any added sugar, satisfies my sweet tooth a bit and fills me up because it is fizzy) had some fruit, a Lara bar and almonds to hold me over a bit.

Later I wrapped up appts, went for a quick jog and then got ready for an event. I hadn’t really eaten much but snack food.

Dinner: Food at the party was actually really good, I made myself two plates of veggies, they had beets, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, all roasted and cold, but I thought it was great. I had topo chico with lime (made them serve it like I was drinking vodka sodas hehe) and they also had some salmon and these delicious avocado cups with fish and a pico like salsa served in it. Can’t complain! I ate a few strawberries off the dessert bar and resisted dessert!

Later at home: I heated up the rest of the chicken chili I had from a few days ago (my dietician bestie would not approve of how long it was in the fridge) added avocado (half of a small one) and a few plantain chips. A little late to be eating, but I don’t really care. It was a good night and I stuck to my plan so I am proud of myself.

Feels: Today was good, despite not eating too much, my snacks held me over. Bloating less. weighed in, scale said 4lbs down…but I know they are just numbers on a scale, that can change over night…still was nice to read. Still getting dizzy-ish if I get up to fast, flip my hair over when blow drying etc. What the hell is wrong with me?!

Friday Jan 13, Day 11 Whole 30:

Let’s see, my day started with a phone call that went like “Oh did you not see my last email I wanted to meet at 10, not 10:30” and me scrambling to get down south on time. So, I grabbed an apple.

Breakfast: Apple.

Had another appt after that (long story short, after a wal mart trip for keys to get made I was famished and bought a banana and more water there, then rushed to my 1:30.

So, around 2ish when I got home, all I had was an apple and a banana and maybe a Lara bar from my console I had handy.

Late Lunch: heated up the last of some leftovers, then went mountain biking! (first time solo, was pretty proud of myself as I am a newb).

Side note: Allergies are kickin’ my A$$…I am miserable. I can breathe through my nose, however can barely see out my eyes. In fact I want to scratch out my eyeballs. Can you relate?

As I have mentioned before, at times I get going on projects and then find myself at Home Goods alone on a Friday at 7pm like “Oh, I should eat, it’s been a while and I just saw a chocolate bar in line that I could totally just cheat and eat right now.” mode.

I refrained, had a HEB trip, then Home Depot trip, then I cut some stuff for the week and made a steak and roasted those brussels sprouts I had been marinating. It was awesome. Then I organized my garage.

Overall you could classify my day as: Being a man (with the exception of the trip to Home Goods).

Fun fact: Only today did I notice that it is, in fact “Brussels sprouts not brussel sprouts” (cue the more you know shooting star) Derived from Brussels, go fig.

themoreyouknow shooting star

Saturday Jan 14, Day 12 of Whole 30:

Like the first round of Whole 30, (and overall my weaknesses in wellness) are:

  1. Drinking plenty of water.
  2. Going to bed at a reasonable time.

So in bed at 2am I went on Friday. Only to be awakened around 4am, then again 6am with the worst allergies, inability to breathe and constant sneezing. Finally at 7am I woke up to do Neti Pot and steam, more Zyrtec and Flo-nase…which ended up me just saying f it and taking a hot bath, then falling back asleep until it was time to hit the gym. Did the AM workout, then brunch!

Sidenote: I was at the gym and the wellness challenge meeting was happening, I got a recap and decided to do it. What’s another 45 days of eating Paleo and stuff?! hahahah (I’ve gone mad).

Holy shit, what am I thinking?

In all actuality, it will be good for me. If there’s one thing I think helped me achieve my goals last year, it was the accountability groups I was involved in. So perhaps journaling (this is on a point/honor system as well as results) and the accountability group/# of people from my gym involved, will be good for me! But seriously, who am I??

I did a Whole 30 brunch with a few other ladies also on Whole 30 (see, there’s that accountability again) and it was nice to bond, fill up on good stuff and chat. Thanks for hosting Whit!

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(pretty little se up too, huh?)

My breakfast casserole recipe: I actually didn’t find it, I was inspired, and did my own thing. Took onion, mushrooms, artichokes in skillet with a little olive oil, then added some chopped asparagus, last spinach and cooked it all up, added some onion and garlic powder for taste. Took about 6ish eggs and egg whites and whisked those in a bowl. Placed the veggies in a casserole dish, then added the shredded prosciutto pieces, mixed it up, Added a few more slices on top, then added in the egg. Baked at 350 degrees for about 20-30min.

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However, I liked this dish much better! Check it out here!

After that was a little work. Then bridal Extravagnza with a friend (and resisted so many cake and appetizer samples it wasn’t even funny). Straight to steroid shot for allergies…which lead me to passing out, having to lay down and get an ice pack and them asking me how long it had been since I ate.

My response “It’s been a while, but it’s not the lack of food, I am just a big wuss when it comes to needles.” That thing hurts too! But boy does it work, already immediately feeling better.

Dinner: I had leftover chicken from a dish the other night, I heated that up with onions and some green bell pepper and tossed that over greens with some guac I whipped up and cherry tomatoes and a few plantain chips for crunch, dash of lime. BOOM-that was my on the fly “Mexican food” dinner.

 

Then shower and dinner with a friend at Maudie’s. I snuck in a flavored La Croix and ate a piece of grilled Mahi from the “salad add ons” on the menu.

And here I am. Exciting Saturday night, huh folks? For some reason, even though I have more “time” from not drinking, I am still not maximizing it. That quote–“If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.” Perhaps the more I have on my plate (including drinking on the weekends) the more I squeeze in and get done, I dunno? I am not hungover, and definitely productive… (as I glance around my room that looks like a bomb went off…hmmm…maybe productive isn’t the right word).

Feels: Aside from passing out, I am starting to feel less bloated. I STILL must drink more water. I may buy something that has the ounces listed to attempt to keep track. (any ideas?) And I gotta lay off them plantain chips-very addicting, and salty. Night night!

Sunday January 15, Whole 30 day 13.

So today was not a good day, but it wasn’t a bad day.

The good: I stayed compliant even during a one year old Fiesta themed Birthday party! Cake, dips, chips, tacos, brownies, it all looked so good, but I ate the chicken over lettuce and snacked on the carrots in guac.

The bad: I didn’t eat breakfast, then I had a meeting, then I rushed off to the Birthday party–therefore, I had a fruit cup and some nuts that I picked up from the hours of 9ish to 3pm, I know that is not good, I tell ya, I get in work mode….and I am terrible. There was some good football on today and plenty of distractions.

Later, after that I picked up the girl I volunteer with and we cooked a healthy meal at home, egg scramble for her with veggies and my go to-BE&A (bacon, eggs and avocado).

We then went to a movie. No snacks! Just water (and I had a kombucha).

Because I am also doing the wellness challenge now (started today with my gym) I get points for the things I avoid eating (ie staying paleo, no sugar, no grains etc) in addition to drinking enough water and getting at least 7hrs of sleep. This, I already know will be my struggle: water and sleep. Almost hit all my ounces, in fact I may have if you could the sparkling water I had.

I am trying to get off to bed now, so I get my seven hours of sleep. Water I am barely going to hit (but I had to go pee so many times today-so annoying!)

So still with ya Whole 30!! Somehow…still with ya.

Monday January 16 Day 14 of Whole 30. Half way-ish through! Yay!

Breakfast: apple, banana, some blackberries (I was in a training and grabbed whatever I could from fridge this AM

Lunch: Scottish Salmon from Snap Kitchen

Workout: Soul Cycle (Rachel’s class was fun, killer and Rihanna v Beyonce-so no complaints!)

Dinner after: Leftover casserole (one with veggies, eggs and prosciutto) and some egg cups and WATER! Ample water. Getting some work done and trying to head to bed to get enough sleep, another packed day tomorrow.

Meal prep tonight: Super easy pork carnitas. Just bought a few spices after workout to rub on pork and left in crockpot with lots of lime juice, also bought some romaine lettuce leaves to wrap like a taco with tomatoes and avocados and maybe mango (I might make a salsa) keep ya posted.

Tuesday Jan 17, Whole 30 Day 15

Haaaalffff waaayyyy theeeeerrrree!!!

For a funny take on Whole30 you can read this guy here.

Today’s Brekky: Bacon, eggs, half an avocado (late for meeting at office, per usual)

Lunch: light salad at whole foods, with a few strawberries and a kombucha.

Trying to get my 1pt for drinking enough ounces of water and nearly peed my pants 3x today. It’s rough when you ride in dirty Austin traffic, folks.

Showed a bunch of homes, then hit the gym around 6:30pm. The dizzy/light headed feels came on again while working today and post workout. I hear it is because I am not snacking enough and going too long between meals. (I really think it’s because my body could use a piece of cake).

But it’s TACO TUESDAY! I am so pleased with my dinner–last night’s pork came out awesome.

Shredded pork carnitas lettuce wraps, topped with a dash of plantain chips, avocado and diced tomato. So tasty. So fresh, I really enjoyed it and the pork wasn’t as spicy as I thought it was going to be! Winning. That’s all I got today folks.

Must get my 1pt for 7hrs of sleep, I can do this! Night night.

January 18, Whole 30 day 16!

I got enough sleep-just enough (and I keep peeing in the middle of the night dammit).

Brekkie: Leftover pulled pork and spinach with a fried egg on top.

Showed houses, came home and worked some more and kept really busy so honestly lunch went a little like this.

Lunch: a handful of pecans, some cantelope, some berries, and can’t really think of anything else.

Then Soul Cycle (90’s hip hop class, what what?!) Followed by dodgeball.

Dinner: Bacon, eggs and avocado. And I made a spaghetti bake for the week. As I cooked (bc I was starving) I snacked on pomegranate seeds, berries and a few pecans.

January 19, 2017, Whole 30 day 17…

Breakfast: Half an avocado, 2 pcs bacon, 2 sunny side up eggs (I know, I know—how do I keep eating this? I am not sure, but the yolk with the piece of bacon with a little avocado on top is my jam ya’ll, so good).

Lunch: Went to celebrate a wedding dress purchase (not mine, duh) and catch up with friends lunch. Had the Allandale at Cover 3-with no cheese, no candied pecans and no dressing. To be honest it was tasty and I am still full (4pm as I write this). Was my chicken organic? Probably not, but I am not going to split hairs-that was impressive for me to eat a dry salad.

Gym today: I did the “wellness challenge” and our benchmark workout.

So 50 box jumps (which took me way too long) 2:48. And 7 minutes of burpees. Aka hell (which I also wasn’t too impressed with myself) I got 82, was shooting for 90. But this will be good to see how I do at the end of the challenge and if any improvement.

I then did yard work, which I count as a light workout (and FINALLY took down my front Christmas lights).

Dinner: Leftover spaghetti bake. I then ran to the store because I was feeling inspired (and had to make a return at Target anyway ha) to try Coach Kelly of Eat the gain’s chicken tender recipe. I will let you know how it turns out.

It’s Fridaaaaayyy also Inauguration Day and most importantly-my dog’s 2nd Birthday.

Breakfast: An apple, some pomegranate seeds on the way out the door. Took #goodGollyMissMollyMaltipoo to the fantastic groomers and doggy day care, ran some errands, worked some at Whole foods…this was my semi

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Lunch: From the salad bars (honestly at Whole Foods there isn’t much bc their salad bar is loaded with carbs, grains or sauces with sugar. So I had turkey cubed, some blueberries, and a hard boiled egg. Not the most wonderful lunch I had, but did the trick after my small breakfast.

Worked at the East Austin office a bit, then headed home in fantastic rush hour (starving).

Tonight I hosted friends for dinner. Friends who are trying to eat healthy and they loved the spaghetti bake from PaleOMG! Yay! I also made the chicken tenders from Eat the Grains, and I put some chicken in the crockpot for later this week (Got the New Whole 30 cook book, what what?!) and made guac for us to snack on. They had wine. I had some flavored la croix with a dash of coconut water (in a wine glass to feel fancy of course).

Workout: I consider us playing Just Dance 3 a little bit as one.. and they left by 11. I may have stayed up and danced by myself a few songs after they left.

I may just go to bed on a Friday night before 1am (who am I??)

Saturday Jan 21, Whole 30 Day 19…stayin’ strong

Workout: CFCL, was a good one today! Sprint type workout, with lots of cardio (my fav, in a really weird way, I know). Confession…I had a spark today. Most drink coffee, I never have and it was going to be a long day-so I had a Spark for my caffeine (which has added sugar). So no points for me on the wellness challenge in the “no sugar” category.

Breakfast: Attempted these soft boiled egg in an avocado bacon wrapped ball thingies. It was not as good as my usual, but at least I attempted something new-ish. Fail.

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Lunch: Well I showed houses for the rest of the day (so proud of my water intake) Come 5pm when I got home, my stomach was eating itself, so held off with sparkling water and fruit until dinner. I am going out tonight with an old co-worker/friend and super pumped.

Dinner: I tried Flower Child today. It is a counter-service type of place, the line was out the door, but didn’t stop me from eating healthy with my friend and catching up. Because I had already had sugar, I decided to go with the “mix and match” I had Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and chicken–naturally there was a little sugar in the sauce they do the veggies in, so I still stuck with everything else but syrup she said was in the Brussels sprouts. Can’t win em all, and so worth it. I will say it was basically like a better snap kitchen on my plate in a super cute atmosphere.

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When I got home I had some more water and a few pecans, finished up some work, blogged this and called it a night. Here’s to getting at least 7hrs for tomorrow-wish me luck. #nightowlprobs

 

In sum, been sticking with it. Water is a struggle for the wellness challenge, but I manage to barely get by, or chug at night as I finish up my blog for the day..

Sunday Jan 22 Whole 30 Day 20

Sunday was Gym (squats, AB bike) then I did hot yoga, picked up some stuff from Whole Foods to complete a few recipes and dinner with a girlfriend to discuss trip planning. She showed me a lil sesame oil, a little rice vinegar and salt and pepper go a long way on my asian chicken salad–so it’s my new fav thing.

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Monday Whole 30 Day 21 (3 week mark, woohoo!)

Feels: I don’t feel all that different like I did the first time, but I also think I may be too f’n busy to pay any attention. I definitely don’t feel bloated so that’s nice, but I do think I am eating too many fats. Mmm…bacon eggs and avocado. So my goal this week is to get in more greens.

Breakfast: No time to cook, had an apple and carrots during a presentation

Lunch and dinner were at home: The spaghetti bake I made the night before and that’s where the need for greens come in–I am snacking on plantain chips and avocados or salsa when I should be eating something more satisfying, like veggies.

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Gym: 2min  of rowing, 2min of resting, 12 rounds.

Then I stopped at HEB for the sesame oil and vinegar and to grab some more greens for the salad I am going to make. Prep’d those for the week and cut fruits and veggies to grab when on go.

Tuesday Jan 24 Whole 30 Day 22

Happy Birthday Kent! (My mentor, second dad, cheerleader, advisor, therapist and overall awesome guy I am happy to have in my life).

Breakfast: Heated up the spaghetti bake and ate while getting ready.

Lunch: I packed a lunch but since I wanted to take my new assistant (woohoo! Yes, I have an asst now helping me out with stuff) to lunch I ordered a salad. I was so proud of myself.

Galaxy cafe-Ahi Tuna salad, no dressing, add avocado and in my bag was my home made dressing! So I did that! hehe.

Pre-workout-few plantain chips as I worked and spaghetti bake again.

Workout: A free/new workout. Strength and a little bit of cardio, I tried out Atomic Athlete because it’s f*ck your friends week. Yes, they call it that, and I think it is brilliant from a marketing standpoint. Good workout overall, will re-try it Friday when there is a more cardio intense workout too.

Post workout: Asian chicken salad, some lasagna bake, a hand full of pecans, some berries, and a Lara bar…oh and my left arm…seriously?! I guess it was a good workout-It’s like I couldn’t stop. My water goal is still hard. I have three-ish Camelbaks per day and nearly piss myself when stuck in traffic, but I know my body is now getting used to the intake bc I think it craves it more, as odd as that may sound. For example I feel thirstier more often than I used to-or maybe I notice it more. Anyway, I am trying my hardest!

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Time for me to get them 7hrs of zzzz’s… will have to skip my book tonight. Have you read the Slight Edge? If not I recommend it. Talks about why you shouldn’t do stuff like Whole 30 (haha, not really, but kinda) The premiss is doing little stuff to stay the course vs. trying to change everything all at once. Will keep you posted on that read. Speaking of, thanks for tuning in.

Wednesday Jan. 25, Whole 30 Day 23…

Breakfast: Time for bacon, eggs and a small avocado (besides the lil brown spots in it, dammit)

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Lunch: Lara bar (I was busy today but had this mid day)

Then showings, a meeting, more showings, dodgeball, a few little pop by’s of clients and finally home for dinner.

Din din: Shredded chicken in romaine lettuce hearts with a few plantain chips, avocado, salsa, diced tomatoes (so hungry I forgot to take a pic first, but it was pretty). Basically tacos without the diary and tortillas.. followed by a kombucha, a little “This is Us” and now bed.

Thursday Jan 26 (whole 30 day 24)

Happy Birthday to my sweet, darling, talkative, happy little nephew, Blaine!

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(so precious right…photo cred..me, duh).

Breakfast: Made time for bacon and eggs (in the skillet today–I usually like my bacon in oven for crispness) and one small avocado.

Lunch: Was delayed but so proud I stuck with it–Asian chicken salad I had prepped this week w/ sesame oil/vinegar dressing, a lemon lara bar, some fruit. I delivered a bunch of Girl Scout cookies. Basically torture.

You know how hard it is to drive around with Girl Scout cookies in your car when you can’t have any?!? Thinking of stashing away one box for March, but can’t even decide which one. Mmm so many good choices. Carmel delights…tag-a-longs…s’mores, thin mints…ok must stop thinking about cookies

Workout: Today I tried Fly-Wheel at Domain, Hmm tough call between this and Soul Cycle. Soul has more of a beat and you let the music guide you (and push of instructors) and this one was more of me focusing on RPM’s and torque and winning the sprint races. You can see your score on the board, so this is good for competitive people like myself who need to be on the leader board (I was first place for the record). Ok but also, there was only three femaled who partook in the “torque board.”

My friend Brooke and I did the class, then I introduced her to some delish spaghetti bake leftovers and the frittata I whipped up earlier in day for the week. Such a good idea when you are running out of veggies or want something easy to make…

I took asparagus and onion mix from whole foods, spinach, tomatoes and sweet potatoes, then I sautéed that up, added prosciutto in this mix. Then whipped up about 6 eggs and some egg whites and poured in to the cast iron skillet where all the veggies were. Baked about 30ish minutes for 350 degree. Also had a little plantain chip and guac snack and some fruit. When I get home I am like the hulk and just start blasting through cabinets and fridge until I hunger satisfied basically.  My Frittata below (before egg and after when all done).

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Falling asleep while writing so time to get some rest! Eeeek next week this time I will be in Mexico-woohoo!

Friday Jan 28…so close yet so far…

I started off this morning with a speeding ticket. Ugh. Which also made me late for first appt, then that appt ran more behind, then behind all day. By my last appt I spilled water on myself getting out of my car and had gum on my shoes. But it is what it is. (such a hard life I lead).

Breakfast: Last night’s frittata with small avocado.

Lunch: Ate on the way to my appt and in my appt-my asian salad, an apple, lara bar and bell peppers.

At this point, when we wrapped up I was in lovely 4pm-ish Austin traffic heading to the gym-and nearly turned off three times to go home. Was NOT feelin’ it today.

Workout: I did our weekly challenge of 100 calories for time on the assault bike. Joined Allie for a few wall balls and then did some abs, nothing too demanding, but better than nothing, I guess?

Dinner: Shredded chicken with salsa and guac in a romaine leaf like a taco. Sad I am out of plantain chips! And a piece of my frittata. Snacked on some bare apple crisps. I am CRAVING wine. It is Friday, I had a long day and it makes me realize how automatic (and good) it feels to have a glass of wine to chill.

Feels Today are STRONG: “I am so over Whole 30,” “not even seeing or feeling any different, so what’s the use?” “What’s one glass of wine once I get home?” “mmm brownies, f-it, I want it, I came far enough.”

**sees Culver’s and wants to turn off for ice cream.

**sees sign to my gym– wants to drive past and not pull in.

Also when I got home today I had a little package. Uh oh. I knew exactly what it was. As a realtor, some lenders I work with send us treats (and I just bought a house from my lender so naturally…I get the gifts). Today was brownies. Delicious f’n brownies I know all to well. I opened the box to assure myself..YEP! It’s the tasty brownies from Fairytale. What’s a gal to do?

I started to justify all the reasons I don’t need to be on Whole 30. I DESERVE a break. What is one glass of wine? I even reached out to a few friends on my moments of weakness–I really thought one would help me with weakness, Nope! They all said the same thing–“Don’t do it Ashley! You are in the final home stretch! You can do it!” Ugh. no fun. I hate you all.

Then I started to think of how far I had come. And how crappy I will feel, and how I am going to be in Mexico next week, which will feel so much better than eating a brownie all alone in my pajamas on a Friday night, ha.

So alas, here I am…watching a new show on Amazon, papers for work scattered about as I brainstorm for 2018 and wrapping up my blog as my new nightly ritual/accountability.

Thanks for reading! Wish me a stronger Saturday.

Saturday Jan. 28 2017-Day 26 of Whole 30…

Today was my asst first day. Which was interesting for me–I actually had time to do stuff around my house in the AM–dishes, laundry, some work and breakfast!

Mornin’!: Shredded chicken and salsa in skillet, warmed up, then took sunny side up egg on top with some avocado slices (how creative I know, but still love it).

Went on a bike ride with my friend, Barbie. Good times-we biked hills, trails, roads for about 1.5 hours. Came home and polished off a few leftover items in fridge as snacks, some La Croix and coconut water mixed, then got ready and showed homes until about 6, so I went about 5ish hours without eating–No bueno, I realize.

Dinner: Sushi! I wanted a roll soooo bad, but held strong with pieces of sashimi and seaweed salad and an “avocado bomb” of some sort-crab in an avocado basically.

Remember how last night I wanted to just say f it and cave? Well tonight, I did…kinda. Ok now it was a full on cheat, though if you were cheating, you probably would’t have chosen this…

I went to HEB for a re-stock on avocados and plantain chips (thinking I would just make some guac and call it a night, but noooo)

I tried the nada-moo coconut ice cream. When I got home I diced up bananas and was just going to have a few bites. Nope, ate the whole pint. #stillgotit

I don’t understand how I went two weeks ago thinking: I could do this until the end of February-no problem, I will win my gym wellness challenge, I am so on it and motivated and cooking up a storm. Call me Melissa Hartwig

To now: I want ice cream, I want wine. I am never going to change, this sucks, I suck. Why do I have no willpower?! Why can’t I lose weight. I need to just be happy being fat. Why can’t I do just do something for 30 days, it’s not that hard…wah.

Frustrated with myself.

Sunday Jan 29…(continuing from yesterday’s post my feels):

That’s the ONE thing I hate about whole 30. The end of it. {You see, I am hard on myself, so when I mess up–I think about it–a lot. I dwell, I say mean things to myself–I wasn’t beaten as a child or anything, I don’t know why I am like this, but I hold myself to high expectations– and I know I shouldn’t}. And hopefully you can relate to wanting something really bad–something you can easily control–and then only being disappointed when you cannot achieve it.

The end of Whole 30 is coming and I can’t even make it to then. I also leave for Mexico for my sister’s wedding in a few days…which falls in the introductory phases. Do I think I can do this easily and successfully while in Mexico at a resort? No. (Though I have looked up some of the restaurants and thought about sustainable airplane snacks, don’t get me wrong). So I already have this guilt of “Ok, I will only drink xyz on this day, and I will eat fresh fruit and run and… and..and…” Because what’s the point of doing all this hard work just to throw it away on vacation? Of course, every normal person says “It’s Mexico, you better have fun and enjoy yourself!”

So if Whole 30 has taught me anything. It’s that I need to love myself more. It’s exhausting. The guilt I feel for adding items back into my normal diet and the comparisons I do to myself are exhausting. Yes, it’s for my health, and yes it’s about changing habits and understanding how food effects my body, but let’s be honest… I did it this year because

  1. December was terrible and I needed a “black and white re-set”
  2. I did it before and knew I could do it again (plus I am not slammed with work)
  3. I had an accountability group
  4. I wanted to lose 10lbs like last time before sister’s wedding

But alas, I am not getting those same results as I did the first go round. I only start to feel very isolated (and I am a social being, so this can be hard for me–turning down things bc I know they are tempting, or hosting things solely W30 focused–but I know that’s my goal and it’s what I had to do) and guilty.

I could vent some more, but I had a pity party for one already.

Side note relating back to sugar/mood etc: I also realized in the chapter about sugar that I was reading today that this go-round on Whole 30 I haven’t really kicked my sugar cravings. As the book says, when you want something sweet-don’t cave to fruit or a dried fruit/nut bar–your brain doesn’t know the difference–it still gets its fructose, thus you are still training your brain to have something sweet after you eat (your brain doesn’t know the difference between cake and berries). Though I will argue my guilty conscious sure does…though it doesn’t always stop me.

But honestly, if you asked me how I have felt on Whole 30–Besides the dizzy spells (yep, still get them, today it was in Yoga). I haven’t felt terribly full/bloated  (I did last night at sushi actually) and after I eat way too many plantain chips, but this time around I think I am eating enough fat for fuel throughout the day (if not too much). Last June I was SO TIRED, but I haven’t felt that AS MUCH this time around–besides BS allergies, those always bring me down, however. (On a scale of 1 to miserable today was a 7).

Today’s food:

Breakfast: Nothing but water, had a nutritional talk at my gym, then I did yoga after.

Lunch: Mad Greens-did a build my own salad, no dressing-chicken, spinach, avo, tom, cucumbers and mango.

In between showing homes, I saw a Baskin Robbins. I pulled through the drive thru. I read the menu–saw the calories. Then I thought-do you really want to throw in the towel to this?? And I apologized to the guy for wasting his time ha, off to work. FOCUS ASHLEY! FOCUS!

Second lunch/early dinner: After showing more homes for a few hours, I came home to cook something before I caved to some other crap. This time I took my shredded chicken, some sweet potatoes and scrambled that up, then ate to SSU eggs on top with a few avocado slices.

Packed some snacks for a picnic and books, picked up the girl I volunteered with and we hung out for a few hours. (I laid off the fruit though as we hung out and listened to my body-I was thirsty, not hungry). *pats self on back*

Dinner: Sweet potato wedges, a handful of plantain chips, handful of pecans as I cleaned up a bit. I know, I know, not the most satisfying, but wasn’t really hungry.

Sigh, few more days of this stuff, and lots of thinking to do…some of which includes not being so hard on myself.

 

How To Pack Light: A Girl’s Guide to Vacation Packing

This past weekend I took my last trip of 2016! And a great trip it was!

A girls trip to SoBe (South Beach, Miami, FL). Our trip was awesome and I definitely had some expectations exceeded.

As a lady (and I wouldn’t consider myself FULL ON GIRLY, but I got lots of clothes, yo!) The part that takes the longest for me to get ready is always picking out what to wear. This isn’t good when it comes to packing for a trip. I like having OPTIONS and I also feel like I am terrible at deciding what to wear for the weather (especially when you go places where you’ll be outside most the time and not in a car like at home). So, when the time came to pack for my Miami trip with the girls, lots of factors come into play, like with any trip:

  1. Weather (fortunately it was going to be warm–78 in day, but a few nights 59/60) hmmm I don’t really get cold though, but now we should go ahead and add a long sleeve item or two..a nice one and a casual one…oh and a comfy one too.
  2. Itinerary. Beach time. Working out. At least one fancy dinner. And duh-an awesome dress for New Year’s Eve will be needed. Bars. Clubs. Maybe something casual. Sleepwear.
  3. Time spent…So now I need clothes for a few nights of clubs or bars, a few beach days, a few days of working out, but what will I FEEL like wearing and what are my friends wearing? Can’t be over/under dressed!!

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I consistently over pack. I tell myself:  “you only have to deal with the heavy pack or pull the suitcase a few times, it will be fine Ashley,” I tell myself. “At least I will have options.” And I always tell myself, “You have got to get better at packing lighter, you can always shop when there!” Fortunately I am strong for a chick so I think of it as a little work out too, walking from airport terminals or train stops with a 50lb+ pack on me…that I usually regret after the first few minutes. ha.

I have looked on Pinterest, watched YouTube videos on packing less. I know the “roll up method” and sticking socks inside your shoes and wearing your “heaviest clothing items.” I do.

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So this girl’s trip rolls around and there I am…shoving 4 pairs of shoes (again…options) in a bag and can’t seem to fit everything else! Ugh, what’s a girl to do?!

Every time (ok mostly every time) I take my carry on suit case, they say it is too big and make me check it. So I scurry, text the closest pal I can think of, and go borrow her larger suitcase.

I mean, if I am going to check a bag-I may as well bring everything and the kitchen sink, right? So in goes the hair products, a few dresses, a few swim suits, a scarf, a light jacket, 20 earring options, 2 different size curling wands, jeans in case I feel like that, running shoes, NYE shoes, wedges, closed toed in case I am cold, (ha in Miami?!) work out attire, a few more options and a partridge in a pear tree.

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I brought the suit case and I wore ALL the workout gear. The sleepwear. The swimsuits and ALWAYS the casual comfy stuff. And then wore 20% of all the other crap I packed. I also had to take stuff out and carry it on the plane so my bag weighed under 50lbs. Yep, I am terrible, and this task wasn’t comfortable at all.

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Now, I am sure you are asking yourself–this blog was titled, “how to pack light” where is the part that she gives me a secret to packing light?

I was kidding. I actually don’t know the secret, but my goal this year is to get better at packing light for my other goal: Keep on taking trips.

Safe travels in 2017.

Happy New Year everyone!

 

November Hearts

I know it has been a long time since I have blogged (June to be exact), but because it isn’t my “job” it usually gets thrown to the wayside as other priorities pop up and need to be handled first, but it is overdue–a post about things I am currently hearting (loving/liking).

heart-cinque-terre(this is from one of my fav places in Italy, Cinque Terre)

{I really need some kind of voice to text while I am driving, so that can eliminate the time spent actually sitting and typing and uploading pretty photos, ha}

Being that it’s that time of year–You know, the “giving” time, but also for me–it is a time of reflection and goal planning for next year (personally and professionally). A lot has happened since my last blog post (the one where I blogged all month about being on Whole 30) and I am feeling grateful, in a great place and have a few things to share with you!

Things that have happened in the last 5ish months…a few Summer parties, my co-hosted All White Bday bash, my client appreciation party, a 3 week Europe trip, remodeled my guest bathroom (that is a whole other blog topic I plan to cover) top agent for September (which is crazy) closed 22 houses, rented out my personal home and bought a flip house that was in the middle of construction, somewhere in there I managed to sleep. Whew, I am exhausted, but somehow still have the energy to share with you, something I haven’t done in a while–My Hearts for November.

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(Client appreciation party @ Lustre Pearl East= Success!)

Without further ado…

heart-budapest

(This one is from Budapest-one of my fav Euro cities I visited this Summer)

Here is what I am currently Hearting!!

  1. SOUL CYCLE

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As you may know I try to keep as active as possible. One thing I do know about myself is that I do NOT do well working out on my own. So, I joined a pal and tried out Soul Cycle….LOVE IT. Now, I can’t only do cycling, I do like variety for workouts, but I will say–the music, the energy, being in that dark room and sweating your a$s off, is a nice change up from your workout routine and a possibly a great addition to whatever else you are doing. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. I am fortunate enough to live close to the Domain location. I have almost tried all the instructors and my advice to you would be to try a 3 class pass, and change up instructors each time. I prefer mornings (shocking I know, as I am not a morning person) but I find parking and less traffic and kicking off my day with the class refreshing. What’s it like? A Dark studio, instructor on stage, rows and rows of bikes facing the stage, and a tight fit-but in a good way. Then each time, different music and you dance on your bike, you pedal to the beat and there’s also some upper body incorporated and dumbbells. Nothing has ever made me feel like I don’t have rhythm like a Soul Cycle class, but practice makes perfect! Last Thursday they had a Rihanna v Drake class. The change up of the music is nice and keeps you motivated. I have had everything from Ellie Golding to John Denver (remixed), Mumford and Sons to Weezer, so again-the instructor’s music choice varies. Check it out.

2. THANKSGIVING

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(please enjoy yourself for Thanksgiving, it’s one day)

Being it is November and I leave for Memphis to visit some family, as I do every year, I have to say THANKSGIVING IS THE BEST HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR!! Here is why–NO presents, only time spent with those you are thankful for (hopefully). That’s right. I think the present giving commercialized Holiday Christmas has become is ridiculous and never ending. There were a few childhood Christmas’ my family and I were in arguments over stupid presents (like the time my mom got me black Dr. Martens and not the brown ones all the cool kids had…I was so ungrateful). Anyway, for me, Thanksgiving is a time to really, really reflect on what I am thankful for. If you had to list what you are thankful for-and you had to take out the following: family, friends, health and a roof over your head–what else would be on your list? Thanksgiving in my family also means GAMES! My competitive nature is practically genetic…our traditions often consist of Michigan Rummy, laser tag (yes, laser tag), a game of Horse in the driveway, and Pictionary (but on a huge dry erase board like that old game show Win Lose or Draw). Last year it was Bean boozled (ps you must watch this video of football players playing this game here) and I have another one up my sleeve for this year that Amazon delivered just in time! Thanksgiving for me also means lounging around in sweatpants, sleeping in, running in the turkey trot, watching football, catching up with family and food. Did I forget to mention food? Mmmm sweet potatoes, turkey, stuffing, and pie. Can’t wait. I hope you feel the same love for Thanksgiving as I do, but I also hope you start a tradition of some sort–whether it be a particular game, or going around and saying what you are thankful for, that you look forward to every holiday. Make it a good one!

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(these are called crack cookies in my family and they have cake mix in em…soo good!)

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(Turkey Trot in the AM!)

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(My sister getting serious during Pictionary)

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(If you haven’t played Michigan Rummy it is the longest game ever…but strategically fun)

 

3. ACCOUNTABILITY GROUPS

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This year (like I mentioned above, I have had a lot of reflection time lately) I was fortunate enough to be in not one, but two accountability groups. One met once a week on Monday mornings, and it was a great way for me to start off my week–in the office, focused and ready to work. For those of you that do HAVE to be somewhere dressed presentable on Monday mornings-you may not be able to relate. But as an independent contractor, sometimes half the battle is showing up…or waking up, ha. I am grateful for an organized co-worker that kept us on track, on topic and on time. The weekly group was from a seminar/training I had attended earlier in the year to keep us focused and practice particular skills, discuss items we are or are not currently implementing into our business. The monthly group was a larger group and we would discuss goals, how to get there, bounce ideas off one another etc. If you are a goal oriented person (like myself) you may want to try and get friends or like-minded individuals together to help you achieve those goals. Did I meet my 3-5 goals every single month when we checked in? No, but often times I exceeded them or took something else away from the group that I executed into my business plan. I will add that I think it is important that whatever group you join–that they be positive people or influences on you. There are times when you get a group of professionals together it can be easy to get off topic and start complaining about this or that, however…it is wonderful to have a group that will tell you “don’t be so hard on yourself” or “it will pick up if you continue to…” and keep you in high spirits–and you them. Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on all we have and give, but hopefully you have already been doing that year round (and keeping up with your “good things in 2016” jar). I will say I have made a conscious effort of being more grateful this year and it has made all the difference. Happiness is a choice.

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(The happy jar I started last year, in addition to positive journaling this year, I read it on New Year’s Day)

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Have a wonderful holiday and make it a great day. Thanks for reading!

 

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My Whole 30 Challenge: A Daily Blog to Hold One Accountable

My Whole 30 Challenge: A Daily Blog to Hold One Accountable

While I am currently not doing Crossfit on a day-to-day basis, I do attend a crossfit gym (but I do classes with an old fav trainer, Taylor, because I like that programming) but I do work out with a group of wonderful gals who for some odd reason thought June 1 they should do a Whole30 challenge.

So this blog is my day-to-day of how the challenge went for me (live blogging if you will).

All I knew of Whole30 is: “it is more strict than paleo

{The jist: no booze, no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, no grains, no legumes, no corn, no fun}…just kidding on that last one…kinda.

When the girls talked about this challenge pre-Memorial Day weekend. I thought to myself, “well now that is just crazy…I can’t do that.” So I proposed to the group (we have our own little facebook group):

Hey ladies what if we do a point system?! 20pts for eating perfect, 10 if one meal had something not on whole30, maybe 5 for drinking 8 glasses of water or 5 for working out–that way the whole day isn’t lost and we are still working toward a positive goal and outcome.

Wellll…that got shot down. But the reason being is that’s not how Whole30 works. It is an all or nothing type of diet. And I hate using the word diet, so let’s just stick with challenge, but really it is more like an experiment to see how your body reacts to certain food groups. Because of how Whole30 works, you cannot just do a little cheat here or a little cheat there (and to be honest as I type this I am not finished with the book, but the best way is to think of this is like a 30 day cleanse–in my opinion).

Some of the girls have told me that this challenge is not to weight yourself, measure yourself or take before and after photos, but to change your relationship with food…(but let’s be real, you know I jumped on the scale to see)

My thoughts: Yes, I already know me and food have a roller coaster type of relationship {Monday-Thursday we are pretty cool, but special occasions and weekends we are on the rocks}

So this is how it has “gone down”, my experience with Whole30.

Monday May 30: -2 Days until Whole30

Drove back from Port Aransas after a fun binge drinking weekend filled with home made tacos, minimal veggies and lots of chips (I cannot tell you how much I love wheat thins). Talked about food half the way home with my friend. Stopped at Mc Donald’s because it had been a while since we had Mickey D’s, it was in the gas station we stopped at and well, because….FRIES.

Thoughts: Maybe I will do this challenge, it will probably only last 4 days because I can’t go a weekend without drinking-I know myself too well.

Tuesday May 31: -1 day until Whole30: Went to HEB and Whole foods and bought some items Whole30 compliant; such as veggies, fruits, grass fed beef, turkey, etc. I came home and meal prep’d. I am no stranger to this–so long as I have the time, I am pretty good at cutting fruits and veggies and roasting sweet potatoes to easily grab or have as a meal later.

Thoughts: Well here goes nothing, guess I will just see how this goes, but my heart really isn’t in this (and it isn’t like there is a ca$h prize).

I am not taking measurements or before photos, but I will have this serve as my “before” photo, taken in May on my Hawaii trip.

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Wednesday, June 1: Whole30 Day 1: Worked at home that afternoon, so got up, made my usual egg scramble (eggs, corn, bell peppers, shredded chicken) but with no cheese, little diced avocado on top with some plantain chips for crunch. Later snacked on some berries.

Thoughts: Yep, this Whole 30 thing is a walk in the park….(so long as I am home the whole month of June)

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Then my sister decided to have her baby. So that evening after I worked out, I packed my lunch sack  with some items I had prep’d and drove down to Victoria to visit with my apples, avocados and ready to go snacks in tow! Passing a Buc-ee’s without stopping for gas (and a snack) wasn’t easy.

Thursday, June 2: Whole30 Day 2: Woke up, found eggs in sister’s fridge where I stayed. scrambled those up and added avocado that I brought. Sliced up an apple too. Found a dish on the counter covered with aluminum, peeked–there it was—a beautiful, homemade yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Reached for the butter knife already in the dish to cut a slice then shook my head in disapproval remembering I was “on Whole30.” Sat down and ate my eggs. Later that day I went to the hospital for some more family time. Everyone brought lunch up there to eat and Kendal her favorite–chik-fil-a. There were donuts sitting on her bed side hospital table and her fav candy-sour patch kids. I watched my ever-so-fit brother grab a chocolate eclair and scarf it in front of me. Bastard. He also put his Schlotzky’s chocolate chip cookie in my purse to taunt me, but fortunately I found it before I left the hospital.

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Thoughts: My realization is how my mind works when it comes to food coming around: If it’s right there in front of me… I will eat it. {Mmmm sugar.}

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Thursday, June 3: Whole 30 Day 3: Not a bad day, worked from home quite a bit that day too, which is easy for me when at home. I had some snacks and items prepped, went to the gym, came home and made dinner (really wanted a glass of wine as I started season 2 of Bloodline.

Thoughts: I consider myself a social drinker, but as of the past 6mo or so (and since I got a Costco membership) I find myself having a glass of wine with dinner in the evenings as I Netflix binge or do stuff around the house.

Friday, June 4: Whole 30 Day 4: Well, this is the day I usually cave. All week I eat “fantastic” then Friday rolls around and at 5 o’clock I want happy hour!! Even when all week I said I was going to “chill” this weekend. Fortunately, my air bnb guest checked in, we caught up (she’s more like a friend now) and the bestie got back into town and we had a lot to catch up on. I worked out in the eve. Picked up a few things at Whole Foods and we stayed up until 6-yes 6am chatting it up. And turnips cut up and roasted do NOT taste like french fries…for the record.

Thoughts: Why in the F did I stay up this late?! And why didn’t I do less turnips on the cookie sheet so they’d get crispier.

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(Whole 30 Fail. Turnips did not end up “turning up” to taste like french fries)

Saturday, June 5: Whole 30 Day 5: Skipped work out, because I was exhausted. {How did I feel hungover when I didn’t even drink, I swear I am doomed!} Showed homes, wrote an offer, then had to eat at home, shower and go to a book launch party I was photographing as a favor for a friend. That actually wasn’t too hard, like I thought it would be. I didn’t drink, I caught up with friends, took photos. And some of the items were Whole30 friendly appetizers (steak, sweet potato, and cubed watermelon with pistachio on top) There was a dab of sauce on some of the items that probably had sugar or something in it, but I ate it anyway. So there, I cheated..I guess. That night I came home to get some more stuff done, in bed late…per usual (grr).

Thoughts: Wow I made it through a Friday AND Saturday of not drinking. *Pats self on back* But how am I still this tired and hungover feeling…getting old sucks. ha.

 

Sunday, June 6: Whole 30 Day 6: Today was the first day I went out to eat and was able to easily stick with Whole30! Galaxy Cafe for brunch with friends. Denver Scramble, no cheese, no bread, add avocado, sub side of fruit-Boom. Not bad! But eating potatoes without ketchup just isn’t the same. Later I played sand volley ball with some peeps (also on Whole30, so only half of them were drinking) and then showed a house, mowed my front lawn, did a little work and watched some more Bloodline. Not too shabby and my ideal perfect day.

Thoughts: Week 1 down, not terrible. You can do this, Ashley.

Monday, June 7: Whole 30 Day 7: Today started off well, made breakfast, attended my Monday AM meetings, showed a condo, ate lunch at home. Driving past places I used to stop at (or work from) is hard, but I suppose it isn’t bad to be at home working when I can control what goes into my mouth. Today’s challenge was the fact I was given a little box of Tiff’s Treats cookies from a tenant (after I photographed his unit). I passed them along to my Air Bnb Guest, told her she MUST have them and not to let me near them. I mean TIFF’S TREATS! People!! Mmmmm so good. The best chocolate chip cookies in town. She had a few but left them on the damn kitchen table for me to stare at that perfect white box. But I did it, I made it through the day, had a killer leg workout. Finished up Bloodline too (while eating cantaloupe). So good-the show, not the fruit.

Thoughts: I need to either start liking Black Coffee or find some caffeine that is Whole30 compliant because this girl is EXHAUSTED.

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Tuesday, June 7: Whole 30 Day 7: Today’s challenge was BORNS in concert at Stubb’s. I did it though. After working from home most the day, a showing, and then an errand at Home Depot (where I really wanted to grab a little treat like I usually do-KitKat or something) I refrained. But I did come home to #GoodGollyMissMollyMaltipoo–who ate a WHOLE (mini) box of Tiffs Treats!!! I was pissed. The chocolate and crumbs was evident on my couch and my rug. She jumped up on my dining room table and ate the entire box. That little B. I think I am honestly more jealous she got to have cookies than angry or worried that she was going to be sick all night. Anyway, I mowed my backyard, showered and went to the concert…sober. I did have a few sips of vodka soda as my date offered me a drink, but I said–“I just don’t think it will be worth it, to come this far, and have a few drinks–and for what? Plus I am driving…you drink, I will have water.” And so I did.

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(she seriously needs the cone of shame every day)

Thoughts: Being in a hot ass crowd sober and listening to music is bearable–have I been in better predicaments? Absolutely. Is this how pregnant women feel who still go out?! Yikes. Coming home after a concert and eating my home made guac with celery does not equal Whataburger. Sigh. I know I will fell better tomorrow though.

{side note…when Molly finds a treat/food she REALLY likes, she hides it and “savors” it. I go into my bedroom to get ready for bed, turn down pillows and there it was–a half eaten chocolate chip with M&Ms cookies Molly had tried to save for later. That devil dog.}

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(Fun fact-coconut water, splash of la croix and some strawberry and basil almost make you feel as if you are drinking!)

Wednesday, June 8, Whole 30 Day 8: First off, happy birthday Megan! Not going to her party tonight, because well it is at a bar where they serve BBQ, talk about temptation city. Weighed myself today-dropped 4lbs. Had an appt. where we met at HEB Mueller and just grabbed nuts and fresh fruit for lunch to eat. Come workout time–I was drained. This was due to somewhat of a busy day and lack of protein or carbs. I mean I think I actually yawned while working out…Came home, had salmon and sweet potatoes, gave me the energy to do a little home projects and blogging.

Thoughts: I need to start napping more. Soo  (yawn) tired.

Thursday June 9, Whole 30 Day 9: Today I learned that I am not supposed to have peanuts on Whole30! Whoops! Missed that somehow (can you tell I still haven’t finished the book…) But no biggie, they are just mixed in with some of the nuts I bought in bulk at HEB, but I haven’t been eating PB and celery non stop or anything. Today was on the go-ish as well, but I learned from yesterday’s mistakes and instead of just eating fruits and veggies I had eggs in the AM and then at our 2pm meeting pulled out my shredded chicken with avocado on top (yeah people were jealous). Worked out-endurance class. Then came home, had an hour to do some laundry and prep/eat before kickball. Did the spaghetti squash and turkey w W30 approved pasta sauce thing-eh (I get so bored of leftovers). And baked sweet potatoes for later. I f’n love sweet pots if you can’t tell. The good news is I am hosting some ladies this weekend for a Whole 30 pot luck dinner/game night. Much like my workouts–I do better when other people around me are in the same boat :) Tonight (literally before I typed this entry) I mixed egg, banana and cinnamon and made “pancakes” they looked like something Molly has thrown up, but fortunately were tasty. PS have the gas on low, I think it was burning off the coconut oil and cooking it too fast…so some were burnt (shocker, Ashley can’t do anything slow or on low heat).

Thoughts: 1. I cannot believe I posted that blog to facebook yesterday instead of just my closed accountability group…now I really have to stick this shit out and try and stay positive.  2. It’s time to get creative and look on Pinterest or something, bc I am already bored with this food, how am I going to last 21 more days?!?!? 3. Mmmm sweet potatoes. And avocados…

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Friday June 10, Whole 30 Day 10: Today was a back to back busy day for me, appts starting North to South. I did good-starting with some eggs (of course).  I faltered at lunch a little. Ate at the Steeping Room with  a friend who does Gluten Free. I got the “buddha bowl” with several modifications, no rice, no peanuts, add an egg, peanut sauce on side. And I dipped some of my meal into that peanut dressing because…well, because it tasted better that way, to be honest. My Friday night ended up being a run to HEB for a few things, some meal prep and dinner at home. Then I went to Lavaca Street Bar at the Domain and Dogwood. Yep. I drank water, caught the end of the Golden State game and socialized some. That did not last long. But I was proud of myself for resisting the urge to give in or make excuses.

Thoughts: I haven’t been to bed this early on a Friday night since…??

Saturday June 11, Whole 30 Day 11: Today I woke up, ate a peach on the way to the gym, got a work out in. Had brunch at East side Cafe–one of my most fav places in Austin. I resisted the jalapeno cornbread muffins. *Pats self on back* Then I got the asian salad, no peanuts, dressing on side, and the side of the acorn squash–because that things is so wonderful (sauce on side) I faltered again by dipping a little into the sauce which most likely has sugar, but figured in the grand scheme of Whole 30, it was going to be OK. Pool party for a bit, showed a home, {client I showed worked for Tito’s Vodka. He gave me a bottle. Of course! I get a free bottle when I am not drinking! But that’s ok, saving it for July 1} then headed to my house-I was hosting a whole 30 Potluck dinner with my support group! Aka the ladies I am doing Whole30 with from my gym. It was a success! And I honestly didn’t stop eating after they left. Shhh…Weighed myself–I know I am not supposed to do this, but it says 6lbs down. Can I tell by looking in mirror? No. Do I feel better? I suppose. But I think I feel better mentally–just knowing I have come this far, and with such clarity and preparation of each day than physically, but we will see how another week goes.

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Thoughts: Perks on being a Whole 30 potluck dinner host: leftovers!! The “sad” part is this is my second Saturday morning that I somehow, still feel like I drank the night before, despite NOT drinking at all. How strange. Does the week beat me up that much that I cannot wake up early and function as an adult?

Me: *Lifts up shirt looking at self in mirror at the side view* Thinks: Am I skinny yet? (I know, I know, not the point of Whole 30….but seriously….)

Sunday June 12, Whole 30 Day 12: Today I slept in. Ah, not setting an alarm never felt so good (except I woke up way later than expected and didn’t get what I wanted to done)… Carmen’s Whole 30 buffalo chicken casserole was my breakfast and it was amazing (should have snagged more). Packed water and a few pieces of fruit. Played some volleyball for several hours. Felt inspired from my dinner yesterday that I hosted and after a Depot run, I popped into Whole Foods for some ingredients. Bought 10 items, spent $100 (a slight exaggeration but these things happen at Whole Foods, ya know?). When I got home I did some house stuff and then started meal prepping. I intended to make dinner but ended up snacking on stuff and just made some items for the week to grab and go or have for lunch etc.: Bacon wrapped dates, turkey and zucchini fritters, bacon and egg cups, guacamole, diced up some veggies. Now it is work and blog time–and here I am.

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Thoughts: Why didn’t I do this back in March? (And I say this because 1. it wasn’t in the midst of summer and swim suit season. 2. I had less social activities to attend to) ha

PS I made Tom Kha Soup—Whole 30 style and while it may not be as good as the one at Sway, it was pretty freakin’ tasty!

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Monday June 13, Whole 30 Day 13: I like my Mondays because I have early meetings at our East Austin office so it forces me to get up and make a good breakfast before I begin my day. Came home for lunch, snacked quite a bit (plantain chips are the bomb.com ya’ll) and today was leg day. Post leg day I had some of my zucchini turkey fritters I made last night and sweet potatoes. I find myself eating more than usual. Unsure if out of boredom or if something is missing. I also had some Tom Kha soup leftovers, watched a little Amy Schumer, got some work done…bed.

Thoughts: Starting to realize how much I eat out of pure instant gratification (despite the guilt I usually feel after eating something “bad.” If I want something I just pop in (the convenient store) and get it–with my gas fill up… when on my way home from errands, if I am hungry (and lazy) I just pop in somewhere to grab a bite because I was “starving” I am curious what my groceries are this month in comparison to take out (I think I spent less…and I know I definitely have saved money on not purchasing my weekend alcohol and splurges.

Tuesday June 14, Whole 30 Day 14: Just like most days, had some breakfast, meeting, an appt, then back up at home for a late lunch. One thing I have definitely noticed is I am STILL (forever) not drinking enough water. After the Whole 30 Pot Luck last weekend, I am now up 2lbs. Whoops. I seem to eat quite a bit when home after my work out. Avocados. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Nothing exciting to report food wise today–I am still eating fritters, and some chicken and potatoes I made in a crockpot today for din din.

Wednesday June 15, Whole 30 Day 15: HALF WAY THERE!!! So, today I had to go to lunch with a client for a meeting. We did Mad Greens-I just got my salad with no cheese and no dressing–it was fine, ok I missed a few items, but it really wasn’t terrible. I will tell ya what was terrible–the line at Mad Greens at noon-as well as parking-and the efficiency of the workers. I don’t think I saw one adult working either. #scary. I had a friend come over for dinner–he was astonished that I hadn’t had anything sweet. He is my 7-11 late night ice cream/skittles after we have been drinking partner in crime. #diabetesplease And I told him–it really wasn’t that bad! I made him a Whole 30 meal, he was actually impressed by (side note, he likes bland food haha and my chicken and potatoes from the crockpot were not that impressive, so I gave it to him to devour). He then insulted my dried apple chips–and said they tasted like sticks from my front yard. haha.

HALF WAY THOUGHTS: This is not that bad at all. I REALLY thought I would be missing my Kit Kats or starbursts next to the printer at the office, or cookies at the title co. and look at me–I am still alive and I am not dying.

Thursday June 16, Whole 30 Day 16: I am starting to run a little low on food and ideas on what to prep. So when I come home to make something, I end up eating a piece of fruit or re-heating something already in the fridge. Tonight I had kickball, and I honestly haven’t drank during the weekdays in a year or so. I drink on weekdays for special occasions and playoffs ha. I snacked on fruit as we all toasted to a girl on the team getting a new gig. Sigh.

Thoughts: Hmm what am I gonna eat tomorrow. And another weekend of no boozing…

Friday June 17, Whole 30 Day 17: Remember what I said about everything being “pretty easy and not that bad” two days ago? I take it all back. Today I sort of hit a “low” As I was driving home from being out on appts (and not eating in several hours) I thought about the food that lie ahead…cold, tasteless to me at this point, in tupperware in my fridge. I don’t want any of that in the fridge. I want a glass of wine. It is Friday, it was a long day (and I am grateful for how busy I am with work, don’t get me wrong) but a girl needs a glass of wine around 6pm-especially after dealing with Austin traffic. I went to a play for a co-worker. It was cute. But it was weird to be out and about on a Friday night, dressed up–and nothing to look forward to food and drink wise–is that sad? Free Tito’s at the play too…I drank Topo (now I see why everyone loves this stuff too). Later I ate at 24 diner, got the veggie hash, no onion, sub sweet potatoes, add bacon. Mmmmm.

Thoughts: I cannot believe I went to 24 Diner and didn’t get a milk shake and/or chicken and waffles. Who am I and what have I become?!?!? So proud of myself, and yet a little sad inside. **Good to Know:** Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Whole 30 all comes down to that phrase, basically.

Saturday June 18, Whole 30 Day 18: Today I had a photoshoot with Big Brother Big Sis and my little. So, I woke up early, got ready for that and didn’t eat much-packed some fruit to go. After that I went to a going away party for friends. Lucky me! The freakin’ pizza got there right as I arrived. OMG it looked so amazing-smelled so amazing AND there was cake!! I had more Topo Chico and chatted with friends, I ate a ton of fruit (sorry everyone who was there, it was me who ate the whole fruit platter!) and a few veggies (broccolli raw is so gross, I can’t.) After, I showed houses and then I was SUPER hungry, so I did a Whole Foods run and stocked up on a few more things and ate at the salad bar there. I went out to the Domain with a few girlfriends–I don’t necessarily regret going out and drinking soda and conversing, Buuuuut definitely different sober. And by different I mean not as fun–let’s be real–loud, crazy, youngsters in the bar? It’s already bad enough while I am drinking, but sober?!?! Shoot me. But I hung in there to be social and get out of the house….but painting my guest room and doing some database clean up now seems more appropriate of a time filler for the next time I am asked, note to self.

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Thoughts: Topo Chico is really good but Dogwood, really? $3.85 for one that you didn’t even give me the full bottle?!??! Also, can someone come over and make me some cool Whole 30 dishes. I am over meal prep and chopping up stuff. I think I need that foam mat people stand on in the kitchen now.

Sunday June 19, Whole 30 Day 19: Happy Father’s Day to all the Pops out there! Today I cheated. Yep, you read that right…here is what happened: Guess who woke up hydrated ready to mow her lawn at 9am? This girl! Started laundry, made a grocery list. Then I played in a sand volleyball tournament. So at 2pm I had only eaten a banana and a peach–I know, terrible, I was just sort of busy. I then went shopping for a mountain bike. Right after that was a movie I promised to take my little to. I stopped to get her and her little brother snacks at the store. There was literally not one thing in there I could eat–and I was starting to get hungry. No time to stop at home, no time to stop at SnapKitchen. Got to movie, got them some popcorn and as I stood in line I thought long and hard…

What a hard internal struggle! Seriously there was a devil on one shoulder and angel on the other. I was SUPER HUNGRY. Don’t do it Ashley! Yes Ashley, you haven’t eaten much all day, you need this. Ashley, just wait-movie will be done in two hours. No, Ashley, you haven’t stopped all weekend, just eat something.

And so I did. I ordered a hotdog. It was terrible, but good enough to fill those hunger pangs. I don’t even regret it. Ok maybe a tad…it all came down to my lack of planning ahead. I never would have guessed I would have cheated with a movie theater hot dog, ew.

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(Happy Father’s Day lil bro–yes, my nephew is the cutest!)

Thoughts: I was just reading the chapter on how to add foods back in to your diet after Whole 30 is done. They recommend starting with dairy first, for three days-and seeing how body reacts, then grains, but they don’t recommend adding back in gluten, etc. It also mentioned-do not add anything back in, if you don’t miss it.

That really got me thinking–What am I really missing? Is it sad that the thing I miss the most is alcohol?? I really thought it would be sugar and my stubborn sweet tooth (which yes, alcohol has sugar) but I would kill a kitten for a glass of red wine with dinner…or margarita on a patio…or deep Eddy grapefruit + soda out with friends or..or…

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**Side note-Finding Dory was super cute, I think I laughed out loud more than the kiddos.

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(This is that buffalo chicken casserole, Whole 30 style from PaleOMG’s blog and while it is spicy I can surprisingly handle it-I am a sissy when it comes to spice but can’t stop eating this one)

Monday June 20, Whole 30 Day 20: Last night I was up late baking a few dishes (see above). Today I had buffalo chicken casserole for breakfast-and a banana w almond butter that I took to the office. A few appts, then late lunch of buffalo chicken casserole and after a hefty leg workout, guess what I had for dinner? Yep, Buffalo chicken casserole. Snack: plantain chips. I have a few things that are chopped up for roasting that I was in no mood for cooking, which, I realize is why I pretty much eat out of pure convenience pre-Whole 30. I wouldn’t call it lazy, because I am not a lazy person, it’s just that preparing a delicious healthy meal isn’t as much of a priority as my work sometimes and things to get done…sadly.

Thoughts: After all these sacrifices how do I not look anorexic by now? Depressing. Yes, yes I know, not about the scale, it’s about your relationship with food, but come on now! Why does it have to be so easy to pack on a few lbs., and yet so trying to shred a few? 10 more days left.

Tuesday June 21, Whole 30 Day 21: Another typical day on Whole 30. Breakfast lunch and dinner all consisted of my casserole and raw fruits and veggies in between as snacks. I had little date with dogs (dogsitting two labs this week) at Yard bar. Though I cannot drink, it was still a good evening, nice weather and lots to watch (and tire out the pups after my workout).

Thoughts: 9 more days. 9 more days. 9 more days. Scale went

Wednesday June 22, Whole 30 Day 22: Guess who worked out in the morning? This girl! I did shoulders today so I could see Baby Hulbert #2 in the evening. Today I worked from home most the day which is always nice to get more meal prepping done. I need variety and convenience all at once. Ate some tom kha soup, went to the hospital, smelled the TIff’s treats that were delivered to Court (Sigh). Then went to Whole Foods. I ran into someone from the gym whose spouse is also doing the challenge. He said she missed alcohol and ice cream the most. I AM NOT ALONE! Yes, those are my top two as well.

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(22 days on Whole 30 and you can see some definition in my arms, or could be the tan…you be the judge)

Thoughts: How did I not know I could have certain Lara bars on Whole 30?!?! These are more tastier than I remember!

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Thursday June 23, Whole 30 Day 23: Breakfast (prosciutto egg cups I made a few days ago) Work. Dentist. Inspection. More work. Kickball. while at home I had some plantain chips and guac, a peach, some more of my tom kha. I am not digging the chicken curry so I think I just wasted 1lb of chicken. I feel like I am eating less, so that’s a plus–or maybe I am just too busy and it isn’t out of boredom? Kickball was a double header, in which we won! I yawned about 20x while playing.

Thoughts: What’s all this I read about feeling energetic and alive on Whole 30? I miss my Spark fo sho.

Friday June 24, Whole 30 Day 24: It’s Friday. Oh how I miss my happy hours. After a crazy week of work (getting four homes under contract) you bet your a$s I want to celebrate/unwind. Buuut I did not. I crafted. I don’t have a guest this weekend, so I am finally going to take advantage of sprucing up my guest room how I wanted…Paint, a decal and chalk painting the furniture. So I did that. Sarah joined me and we caught up and watched some OITNB. I also ate about a whole pack of (whole 30 approved) bacon (whoops)! Apparently it taste good wrapped around the following: butternut squash, pitted dates, and artichokes.

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(painting a side table while watching OITNB, then at 11pm I decided to start painting the guest room)

Thoughts: The calories don’t count if I can’t/don’t have all the other crap I would normally eat on a Fri. night, right?

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Saturday June 25, Whole 30 Day 25: Today was a hike with the pups at the greenbelt and friends (fruit for breakfast), bought a mountain bike, showed two different clients homes, then headed South for a bachelorette shin dig that the host so kindly let me know what was going to be on the menu. I knew way in advanced about the party-so I already passed on the night out DT (I knew it was not going to be enjoyable for me, plus I had some work to do). I brought my plantain chips for the guac and hydrated well, then was a DD for the group. I came home, started to write an offer for a client, finished painting guest room and cleaned up my mess.

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Above: Pups loving their lives at The Greenbelt, bright and early-which wouldn’t be possible usually bc I am too tired to get up and Below wishing our friend safe travels and new memories as she moves away.

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So much time this month with all my pregnant friends who can’t drink haha.

Thoughts: At least I have been productive af this month…there is a light at the end of this tunnel!

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My guest room (almost) complete!

Sunday June 26, Whole 30 Day 26: I finished off my prosciutto egg cups and sat down with my iPad on Pinterest “what to make for these last few days, what to make…” Then caught up with a friend, volunteered and went swimming. Ya’ll today I felt so urban. I biked, yes biked to Whole Foods on my new bike. Picked up my items and stored them in my messenger bag and biked on home. I am so hip. Love the new bike. Love these evenings we have been having despite the heat. This week I am making a pork roast. It was pretty easy and I found the recipe on Pinterest. The guy behind the counter asked me if I was training for something. I was puzzled and said “No…” And he cut me off to say “if you were training for something I definitely wouldn’t recommend pork shoulder” and I then explained I am doing Whole 30 and I will eat whatever the F I can and didn’t need his judgement. Just kidding, I didn’t say that, I was flattered he thought I was “training for something.” And just told him I was trying a recipe I saw. Then I got my roast in the crockpot, rode around some more, got the house ready for my next Air bnb guest, that’s my Sunday Funday folks. For dinner–I am REALLY struggling. I found some ground chicken I was going to use for fritters, but seasoned it, cooked it up and ate it with tomatoes, avocado and pineapple salsa over mixed greens-pretty tasty. Also had some sweet potatoes (duh).

**Side note: My air bnb guest is a cool chick from Salt Lake, here for a work training. She was a sports science and nutrition major, has done Whole 30…errr 15. But currently is on a program where she is eating a ton of protein, eating 6x per day and already shredded 6% body fat in four weeks {#dedication}. We chatted about that and traveling etc. She said her goal is to be in the best shape of her life by the time she is 30 (in December) and she is visiting her 30th country on her 30th (Australia). I’m jealous. She cool. Maybe she will be my friend.**

Thoughts: This pork (ready at midnight) is tasty. Can’t wait to mix it with eggs tomorrow and eat it all week. Is it Friday yet?!?!? Also, I have been eating a lot of fruit on this thing–probably more than I should. Oh well, too late to start over now!

Monday June 27, Whole 30 Day 27!!!!: Final home stretch. I woke up and weighed myself and I am at my 2011 weight aka my “skinny summer” as I call it. Even though at the time I didn’t think I looked any different and “had more work to do” much like now. But there’s no way I could sustain Whole 30 for Whole 90 or anything (I miss my social life, but it will take a little more discipline to maintain). Not that the scale matters (blah blah blah, it feels good though! Must have been all that bike riding I did yesterday ha). I mixed my pork with eggs and avocado (but then got a real estate “emergency” call and ran out the door and took breakfast with me then my eggs got cold and I heated them up at the office and they weren’t that great (re-do tomorrow). It’s now midnight and I am famished. Despite having throughout the day: a lara bar, apple, banana, more mixed fruit, roasted sweet potatoes and then I tried a new snap kitchen dish that was paleo and fantastic–and whole 30 compliant!! Brisket Hash (I ate that post workout but pre-kickball game).

Thoughts: How can I keep losing weight and feel great but not be on Whole 30 all the time? Ugh life struggles.

Tuesday June 28, Whole 30 Day 28: Lots to do this AM, so Snap kitchen’s paleo apple chicken sausage egg stack it is! Closing, then looked at a house I am going to lease on the east side (after the bum moves out and we get fresh paint). I was starving by that point so I found the paleo salmon salad at Snap Kitchen and a juice as a snack. More work at home. Then a really good conditioning workout with TDL FIT (30min of assault bike and a bunch of other stuff-it was a good one!) Followed by crafting with a friend at my house. We ate off my roast some more over mixed greens with plantain chips, avocado and tomato like a salad, salsa as dressing.

Thoughts: Scale went down a few more lbs. Holy $hit. I need to finish this It Starts with Food book so I can know what to do come this weekend. Must. Stay. Strong.

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{Some of the perks of this challenge have been the opportunity to hang with people I don’t always get to hang with and work on stuff I never set aside time for (ie this 4th of July wreath above with my expecting friend, Krystle)}

Wednesday June 29, Whole 30 Day 29: Still eating off that roast from Sun night–heated that up in coconut oil. Did two eggs over medium and diced avocado on top-mmmmm mmmmm. Had Snap Kitchen for a late lunch. Shoulder day at gym. Then a ride around the hood on my new bike. Dinner was some leftover Tom Kha soup (it is bare-ish bones in my fridge right now and I am trying to use up all I can before grocery shopping. If I am sick tomorrow it could be because that soup has been in there a while. Oops). Then working on stuff for the rest of the evening.

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{Side note: That new Hulu show, Casual. Me likey.}

Thoughts: Should I start day 31 with Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby or Blue Bell Cookies n Cream? Meeting a friend for happy hour on Friday and they asked: Wine or a cocktail first. I don’t even know. I have some big decisions to make this week.

Thursday  June 30, Whole 30 Day 30: Woohoo! It is my last day of Whole 30. I finished up some stuff in the fridge, had snap kitchen and fruit at kickball. Then our game ended late and with only two official hours to go-I had a margarita with a few on the team. Yep, a little cheat–but don’t care! I have come this far, I wanted a ‘rita, and that’s what I got at Doc’s.

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(Molly is also a big fan of Snap Kitchen–got into the lasagna while I changed for kickball).

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(One of my most guilty pleasures, a marg on a patio)

Post Whole 30 Thoughts (Friday July 1): Honestly, I am a little lost. I don’t want to go crazy over this holiday weekend and “ruin” all my hard work. I am 10lbs down (my 2011 Summer weight aka my “skinny summer” ha) I tried on my 4th of July swimsuit(s) {hey! I couldn’t decide which one to wear} and I can actually see a difference… I feel good. People tell me I look great (but then again they all know I haven’t been out in a month and saw my blog post to FB so they know I have been working hard ha). I had a lot of “epiphanies” and realizations…for example how much crap I just eat because it is there. And how if I really plan and put my mind to something, I can skip out on the fast food or the convenience items and prepare a healthier meal at home. Now is the time for me to add back in dairy (and I am adding in alcohol, I mean it is a holiday weekend) and see how it goes…

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Post Whole 30 pic above (I cannot believe I just posted a swimsuit selfie pic on the Internet of me and my messy room). I don’t really have a “before photo” nor do I have measurements, but I weighed myself.

July 5, Post Whole 30 Day 5: The holiday weekend wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. However, lots of feelings of guilt and confusion. Yes, I do want a milkshake, yes I do want the fries and yes I do want the corn tortilla chips with the dip not the plantain chips, but no I don’t really need any of those items. To eat it or not to eat it?!?! You have to pick your battles. And if I was good at mindful eating, I wouldn’t have had to do Whole 30 in the first place, right? Perhaps I am just better with black and white rules vs. be mindful and eat to nourish your body. Pizza sure does nourish my body.

Holiday weekend highs and lows: Friday I ate Whole 30 with the exception of adding blue cheese crumbles to a salad and a little dash of dressing AND I had alcohol. Saturday was all day at the lakes (yes plural, went to both) and I will say I am proud that my lake snacks didn’t consist of Pizza flavored Pringles or Doritos, but fresh cut fruit, carrots, plantain chips and then finally split a BBQ plate at a party with a friend (you pick your battles). Sunday was pool party (more alcohol) and with some fellow W30 ladies, and we chatted about the aftermath of “what now?” One said–I ate Whole 30 all day, then I had some ice cream, because I missed that–and I still felt fine, so I think it is ok if you are mostly eating Whole 30. Yet I think we are all in the boat of “what now?”

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I tried that new place Irene’s. Loved the vibe and decor (the Old Lucy’s on West) but…service and menu were “eh” The disappointing part is when you decide to eat “bad” and it isn’t even worth it. Reviews on Irene’s later.

I was also sent this great article on Mindful Eating and forgiving yourself. Two things I am not great at, yet always “working on.” I am really hard on myself so it seems like whatever decision I make always has some sort of consequence or regret later (yes, it’s exhausting, and I am not just referring to food, I am even referring to the fact I wish I could be two places at once, I hate choosing one person’s invite over another’s etc.) But I have to have a lot of self talk about living with decision I made. My social personality and desire to be around others vs. my desire to want to be a healthier, happier person is like a see-saw, literally has highs and lows where one side of me always feels like she is missing out.

ANYWAY…hope you enjoyed the longest blog I have ever written and you can resonate. Perhaps you will give Whole 30 a go, perhaps you just liked reading, but I hope you got a little something from it, if not a few laughs. Cheers, friends and best wishes to you!

 

Ch-ch-chaanges! A Few of My Favorite Things In March-ch-ch in the ATX

Hello, hello my little Austinites and then some! How are you??!!

Fantastic, I hope!

I wanted to share with you: Things I am Hearting: The Spring Break Edition

From Austin developments and Spring flowers…to staying indoors and pretending you have cable. Here we go.

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(a collection of a few of my favorite hearts from all over)

Because there are some ch-ch-changes, as we transition from Texas winter to Spring…

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(in honor of the late David Bowie and #sxsw RIP, David!)

 

  1. That Texas state flower.

Yep, it’s that time of the year. SXSW is in town, traffic lightens up for a week during March, and the blue bonnets-yes, that pretty Texas state flower adorns MoPac, 360 and random spots among our neighborhoods and parks. We pull over on road trips and take photos in them…they may be cliche, but ya know what?!?–I don’t care. Embrace it, Texans!

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(Molly 2015-when I first got her)

Blue bonnets are the first sign of Spring! Which means for Austinites: patio drinking weather, a trip to the beach with the kiddos, Spring Break, Sxsw, outdoor home projects, June bugs and mosquitos, Air Bnb and Home Away making a ton of money and my yard is so green (though most of it is weeds, ha), but the flowers are in bloom.

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(Molly 2016, on our walk the other day)

 

2. Rock Rose.

As most of you know, the Domain is blowing up! I have always enjoyed the Domain, as I have lived North/N. Central for some time and it was a quick stop for a new outfit or dinner at North, a Starbucks date or The Park happy hour.

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(Girl’s Night with my Northie gal pals)

I could do without California Pizza Kitchen and Maggiano’s and some of the other chains (but they do well, so what can ya do?) It is now “uptown” in our growing metro. #Rockrose is the street developers decided to ask popular, LOCALish businesses to expand a second location here for the most part. We have West 6th’s Dogwood and Kung Fu among a few other bars expected to open-as well as Lavaca Street + a Surf N Turf restaurant. Finally bars “up here” so we don’t have to trek downtown with Lyft and Uber surge pricing and all the craziness at times.

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Also…A fancy cocktail bar called St. Genevieve, that just opened, looked swanky (I still need to try-who is in?) Sway (oh sweet mother, thank you, thank you!!) is opening their second location. Then you have: East side King’s Thai Kun, which I tried last weekend (be prepared spice lovers! It is melt your face off spicy!) I also had the opportunity to try Mia’s, a tapas bar that finally has small plates (we ate too fast to take photos)–but not just four choices, but like fourteen. Also has pizzas and a few Italian entrees on menu, but portions and atmosphere were perfecto!

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(Wings on left as an app, the Larb to the right (one of the spiciest dishes on menu–not mine!)

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(crab rice)

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(Cheers–at Jack and Ginger’s)

{Sidenote: My biggest complaint as Austin turns into more of a foodie town is how proud some places are…meaning overpriced with these tiny little plates and they aren’t even that spectacular (anyone else miss the good ol days when ALL my Austin restaurant favorites were under $10 and low key?…or am I just getting older now so I can afford more/have better taste?? ha)}

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(Kung Fu set to open 3pm 3.15.16, I happened to be in the area 3.14-Pi Day! and snapped the last minute project finishing up)

There’s a Colorado chain opening up a Mad Greens. A Dallas chain opening up Velvet Taco. And you can also find Tarka Indian kitchen (already open) and Salvation Pizza–hurry up and open already, that’s been a tease for a while. You won’t just find food either–CorePower Yoga and Bird’s Barber shop as well as a Men’s Clothing boutique called Weathered Coalition that will have a wifi lounge and coffee and whiskey bar…oh and a barber shop–say whaaat?! And I wish my hair girl lived North so she would be up here as well, but at least I will now have a Jose Luis Salon toward the end of 2016 as well (their third location and highly recommended by yours truly) woohoo!

3. Hulu’s New Mini Series

Just a shout out to Hulu for making me feel like I have cable again. I wait every Monday for the new show with James Franco time traveling to stop the assassination of JFK each week. It’s called: 11.22.63. As much as I wish they would just release all of them for me to binge watch like House of Cards and other Netflix originals, I now have something to look forward to (after Sunday’s Walking Dead of course). J.J Abrams + Stephen King. It’s a bit eerie, a bit romantic, a bit historical, and I like it. Check it out.

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(I do not have James Franco or Hulu’s permission for this image, but hopefully they like me promoting their show, thanks Google!)

 

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IheartTheATX February Likes

It’s that time again…

Another blog post on things I am currently hearting and want to take the time to share.

Honestly, as a creature of habit these posts can be difficult. I haven’t been going out to eat a lot (so I have no cool restaurant recs currently-but open to suggestions!). I am back in my Snap Kitchen phase (and therefore eating the same fav 4 items)..

but I do have a few things that have been in my life these past few things, and here they are-What I am currently hearting February

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(heart above from Mallorca, Spain)

1. Feng Shui (FUNG SHWAY)

I got a book for Christmas on Feng Shui that I asked for and since reading, have spruced up my home a bit and learned quite a bit on the ancient Chinese subject. Then, last week I hosted a “good fortune gathering” in celebration of the Chinese New year in conjunction with a speaker who is very knowledgeable on the topic of Feng Shui. I invited some great ladies over to my house to hear what Stacy had to say, and learn a few things on the topic.

{Side note, it there has been one thing that has changed over the last few years in my life it is: who I surround myself with. I feel as though it keeps getting better, more Quality, less quantity. As I looked around my “Good Fortune” event, I saw a room filled with positive, open minded, successful, strong, caring, happy women. I am grateful to have them in my life}

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Anyway, I started reading “Move Your Stuff, Change your Life.” It’s not about throwing out a bunch of stuff and having your couch face a specific way, (but warning, it may inspire you to sit down and go through some junk, which was nice) but more about the intentions behind where you place certain items in your home. Many companies (take Hyundai for instance, built and designed their whole building in CA based on feng shui principals). You may not necessarily believe in the unseen energy, but some feel more connected than others, and I figure it can’t necessarily hurt, only help to move a few things around (with the positive thought of what’s to come behind it). It’s as easy as that–from writing your intentions, to placing a mirror in your entrance-yet not facing the front door. Placing specific items of specific colors in corresponding places of the bagua. But, I will let you reach out to me if additional questions, maybe I can help-but I am no expert, or purchase the book here and read more for yourself.

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Above is the bagua (place the bagua over a floorplan of your home, with front door being on bottom line and these are the different areas of your home for you to feng shui)

2. 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life

Last week I was in a training all week. It was sales and real estate related, but it was so much more than that. The speaker instructed us to buy a book called 365 Thank Yous. And I haven’t finished yet, but thought I would share. Here’s the synopsis on the back: “An inspiring, true story about how a simple old-fashioned act-writing thank-you notes–lead a hopeless, angry, middle aged man out of despair and into a wonderful life.”

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A few years back (I want to say the start of 2013, I was at an all time low (for me). I consider myself a fairly happy and positive person, but I was not doing so hot where I want to be in life, not doing so hot in business and I couldn’t see clearly of how to get there, either. I was harder on myself than usual, with low confidence and self esteem, and overall just disappointed in myself for letting it get to that point. I was stressed and overall sad about what my life was comprised of and who I was and wasn’t surrounding myself with). As I started to read this book I resonated with the writer and the point of his life at where he was (and yet I don’t even feel the pressure of providing for a family, so I often have that to be thankful for).

I haven’t finished the book, but I can already tell you I find it a great read and look forward to finishing it up soon. Gratitude doesn’t come easy for most of us (including me) in addition to always thinking positively. Especially this day in age with social media and someone ALWAYS selling something–we often think of what we DON’T have or what we want next, vs looking at all the wonderful things we already have in our life… and I am not even talking about material things (coffee, internet and seat warmers in our car) but much deeper things…such as people, emotions, our health, etc.

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As most of you know I started a “happy jar” last year, and practicing gratitude only coincides. If you don’t have a stationary set (especially you fellas) I recommend you pick one up next time you are out…and either write down good things as they come to you, or write thank you notes when you are really feeling thankful for someone.

{Fun fact: Thank you notes from men are MUCH better well received than from women, because we (women) have been writing them much longer than males to where it is sometimes expected. So set yourself apart fellas, and make someone feel appreciated today-write them a note!}

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3. Walnut Creek Metropolitain Park

If you have been in Austin long enough, you know that the greenbelt trails are South and West. Actually, it seems like all the good hiking trails, hidden waterfall gems, off leash parks are all well, South.

I wanted to share some info on Walnut Creek! I have been dog sitting my Dad’s (ok and what was once mine-Jack) labs this past week as he is working and felt bad about boarding them. We have been having some amazing weather lately, and while my yard is nice (in fact, as I write this in my office  I hear Molly and Riley playing in the yard, with the window open, she growls so loud you wouldn’t know she was a Maltipoo) it is no huge off leash park with watering hole and trails.

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(the pups post park on Saturday-patiently awaiting me to throw a ball).

When I first moved to Austin I took Jack (my black lab) to Sculpture Falls, Red Bud, running on Lady Bird lake and to socialize with other dogs at Audi Shores, but alas…I am a Northie now. And if you haven’t been to Walnut Creek (this is also where I play kickball sometimes) I have to say–it is pretty great! Tons of trails dedicated to bikers, hikers and off leash dogs as well. I took the dogs Saturday and they had a blast, and best of all (what all dog owners want upon return) they were exhausted! The water was up, the dogs splashed and swam and fetched, then walked uphill, downhill and all about, excited to come home and lay in the Air conditioning (after I hosed them down in the yard of course). So regardless if you are a dog owner/lover or not. If you enjoy checking out new trails (and even getting a bit lost) or taking out your mountain bike–(or the kids to a playground), Walnut Creek is worth checking out!

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Click the link above for a video of Riley fetching rocks at Walnut Creek…yes, rocks.

Anyway, as always, thanks for reading and in honor of the month of February–Molly hopes you had a fantastic Valentine’s Day…

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What I am Hearting: the Hello 2016 Edition

Oh my my, it has been a while since my last blog post. I am sorry I have failed you readers (all 4 of you).

So we are off to a new year. Hello 2016…

Year after year I try this whole “I am going to start doing ___” I am going to _________ (drink more water, lose weight, floss more, be more positive)” blah blah blah (the usual for me)

Change is hard, yet it is something I am constantly striving  to do. (or perhaps not change completely, but “better myself” is a better description). I can’t help but to reflect at the end of the year and ask myself “What can I do better? Or differently? and Is that what I really want?” even though I think resolutions are somewhat silly.

Which leads me to one of my 2016 goals-be more consistent in my writing. I am not really sure why I want to be more regimented with it. But consistency and this outlet is nice. So here we go.

FINALLY…here’s a few things I am hearting this month.

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(Infamous heart photo–this one is from Nov. 2015 Central America trip)

1. Happy Jar.

Last year I kept a jar in my living room. A gold spray painted mason jar that I labeled “2015.” Next to it was some cut up pieces of (scrapbook) paper. Every time something good happened-big or small…I wrote it down.

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“A few of them read: A girl at the gym today told me I looked really pretty especially for not having any make up on.” You may see this as a slight back-handed comment, I will take it.

“Closed on my home, drank Dom’, went to happy hour with the bestie at Bess’ Bistro, then Aziz Ansari’s book signing, today was a great day.”

And here’s another one below about being an Auntie.

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(obligatory bragging on cute nephew pic)

I read them (some aloud, some to myself) on New year’s day with some friends. One friend said they were going to implement this with their team at work to read at the end of the quarter to celebrate. Not a bad idea.

I read an article last year regarding “practices and habits of some of the top business women” and most of them started their day with a gratitude journal, meditating or some type of healthy breakfast or a morning jog/yoga sesh. Since I am not a super early riser nor a meditator…and I did Yoga twice all of last year… I opted for gratitude. I truly believe people who give and who are thankful for what they have are more happy, and I’d say despite the occasional downs here and there, I am doin’ just fine.

2016 Goal: Favorite moment of the day book.

I bought my friend a “Favorite moment of the day Journal” and I wish I would have picked one up for myself, now. However, I grabbed a little journal and each night write a favorite moment. Fortunately, I am day six in, each entry there has been more than one favorite moment for the day. I challenge you to do something similar.

2. Feng Shui

Some of my very first clients I ever worked with were VERY into Feng Shui. At the time I remember thinking it was kind of peculiar. We could pull up to a house and they knew instantly- “let’s skip this one.” However, they were successful. They were at peace. They were happy.  So, my mama got me a book for Christmas this year on de-cluttering and Feng Shui-ing my home. I am on day three of rearranging. I see it’s purpose. Some of it sounds wacky, but I have several more chapters to go.

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It does NOT work like this “I put purple in the prosperity corner of my home, should get a check in the mail any day now” but more of: when you do things with intent, those things will come to you because our minds are very powerful (and this coincides with another favorite book of mine The Secret and maybe my “sales- like/positive thinking/write down your goals/surround yourself by those who you want to be like and will lift you up” mindset).

Feng Shui tips (or skip ahead): Some things I have learned, and again this TOTALLY depends on the layout of your home…Your prosperity area should have red, coins, shiny objects, purple, water or photo of water. Your front door entry should be free of debris, well lit and inviting. You do not want mirrors or stairs facing the front from the inside. Black, white, round objects, water and some red for energy are all very inviting items to have when you walk in a home. I haven’t bought anything new for my home after reading the book, I basically walk around and note specific items and move a photo or candle here or there, or clear an area of mirrors etc.

Who knows if feng shui actually works, but it definitely couldn’t hurt, right?!

3. Celestone Soluspan-say what?

The funny (funny ironic, not funny “haha”) thing about that silly Time Hop app. is seeing that I complained about allergies last year, the year before, the year before and so forth about the same time each year… Besides traffic it is my second complaint to this wonderful city. Most of the time I wait until I am MISERABLE and head to the Redi-Clinic, barely being able to breathe and wanting to claw my eyes out-and I get a shot. This time, after a few nights of being woken up by sneezing like crazy i went in to get the steroid shot, Celestone. They looked at my chart- she said “oh you were here last year about this time” and boom, a lil shot in the butt. Am I 100%? Nah, I still take a zyrtec on really bad days, but I am 98% much better. If your insurance doesn’t cover the year round allergy shots, or you are tired of Flo-Nase, Claritin and the like, do yourself a favor and get you a steroid shot (you know, if your doc says it is cool and all).

austin allergy chart

I have more things to share but I will keep it to three. As always, thanks for reading!

My Top Dates of 2015 (that actually never happened)

Last year I wrote about my Top Dates of 2014.

And by “top” I mean, pretty awful, but always humorous events to tell about, of course…

This year I surprisingly (and thankfully) don’t have terrible dating moments to share (ask me about Molester Mike when you see me, I feel too bad blogging about this one).

HERE ARE THE TOP 5 DATES of 2015…

THAT ACTUALLY NEVER HAPPENED:

NUMBER 5: Mr. Philanthropy

(He did a ton of volunteering, seemed like a nice dude). Got my number on a Sat. touching base with me, text, text blah blah, I like this, cool, I live in that part of town, blah blah…

Him: let’s get together tomorrow then?

Me: Ah, sorry I can’t plans with friends, but after?

Him: Ah, no time, but we can schedule something next week.

Him on Monday: Proposes Ice Cream at Lick off Burnet on Wednesday. (swoon, he picked a place I was going to be near and didn’t pussy foot, but made a plan)

Me: Cool, that works, see you there, blah blah blah, texty text, blah blah things we both have in common yadda yadda

Him on Tuesday 10:44pm: I have to cancel. I have been seeing a woman that I want to move forward with, best of luck!

Me: Cool, thanks for being up front, good luck to you too.

SIDE NOTE: Is this what guys say now instead of the truth? Is this what he really meant:

“Hey gotta cancel, I can tell I am actually not that interested in you and I just matched up with a chick that’s way hotter”

“Hey you are actually pretty boring over text, so I think I am gonna pass”

I will take the “moving on, good luck” over the actual truth, I guess. Just don’t ghost me-man that is annoying.

winston churchill quote

NUMBER 4: Mr. LOL

(If you have read my past blogs you know my hatred for “lol”) Mr. LOL gets my digits on a Wednesday…it’s honestly irrelevant, but I will tell you we lasted until a Sunday, no date ever planned…but I think I am ok with that.

The next series are his responses/comments in our textversation (literally I am scrolling down and typing in his answers) this guy has so much to talk about ya’ll, I tried, I really did: (note any grammatical mistakes are not on my part, I am doing this verbatim, but he wasn’t that bad, actually).

lol youre so tough.

Lol youre so traditional

That’s sexy to me (no I didn’t send him nudes,  I told him I was somewhat traditional)

Again, I know how to treat a woman you’ll see

I think it’s 50/50

should be

Lol so does attitude

(sends me a photo of a weird seal making a face-I think he’s trying to be funny, it does not pertain to our convo) I ask him if he had plans this weekend –and next few responses:

Lol not really and you?

Gay

Still playing (he is referring to me asking him how his poker game is going)

Lol calm down (I joked no cell phones at the poker table)

I won!

Lol ugh

South.

And then he sent me a photo in the bathroom, with a backward caps lifting his shirt up showing me his flexed abs.

I will stop there. That’s all you really need to know.

(SIDE NOTE: 25 Things Men in their 30s need to STOP doing)

i hate lol

NUMBER 3: Mr. Nanna Helper

Started texting me on a Saturday. Blah blah blah from Austin, family here, has a business dealing with real estate blah blah blah commonalities, that’s cool, oh you like doing stuff to your house me too, blah blah text text text. Let him go, had dinner plans. Seemed like a good ol boy, which I liked.

Him Sunday: Good Morning! Happy Sunday! Blah blah, text, text, told him about news I got that day, blah blah, texty text banter.

Monday: Hey How’s it going, just helping out my Nanna, she lives down the street from me.

Me: I am off to the gym, but let’s chat later. I follow up. Blah blah gym was brutal…

Him: Blah blah I think I am getting sick blah blah what are you up to?

Me: researching vacations blah yadda yadda.. where to go, I love travel (it was late)

Tuesday HIm: Follows up on travel conversation, says he has only been to Mexico.

Me: It happens, do you have the desire to travel more?

Never heard from him again. Awesome.

NUMBER 1: Mr. Eureka

Met a guy when we were out-left him my number. He followed up and it was before I was going out on the lake, so I told him if he could be at Hula Hut in an hour, he could come with. He did, it was fine. Ate dinner with us (left wallet in boat, so I paid). This was in August–it was actually on my birthday. So technically we did go out (but it was him submerged with all my friends on the lake, unsure if you call that a real date).

That night: Texted me he had fun, we should hang out some time!

Me: Yeah, I had fun too and sounds good!

Sep from him: Texty text, blah blah, how are things, we should get together some time.

Me: Yeah, sounds good.

Dec. 8, 8:31pm

Him: Whatcha doin?

Me: about to get some work done

Him: Well damn. My life is pretty 9-5 now so let’s meet up sometime soon.

Me: Nice having evenings open, huh? Sounds good

Him: Yeah for sure

Never heard from him again.

NUMBER 5: Mr. Football

Matched on Bumble (a dating app. similar to Tinder with better quality guys and girls have to write first)

Oct. 16: I opened with “which team should I pick for my win in my eliminator challenge?” and gave him the teams I was deciding between.

blah blah, chiefs, blah blah vikings, blah blah bad picks, blah, texty text, from Austin, text text I went to Tx State as well, oh cool what was your major? blah blah blah. football emjoi, hand clapping emoji,

Asked for my number Oct. 26 (yes, 10 days later) after texting pretty much daily here and there and emojid our way through conversations.

Blah blah, Oh we know the same people, blah, texty text, Austin is so small, “lol” blah, yadda yadda, thumbs up emoji, beer mug emoji, yes I go to that bar too…blah blah blah, emoji, wink face, tongue out emoji,

Last Text Sent: Nov. 5

Never had a date, nor a phone call, but we sure did “talk” a lot of football and I tip my hat to a few of his correct picks, helping me through quite a ways. I also used emojis I hadn’t before, so that was a for sure perk.

football pretty boy

And that ladies and gentleman (sorry to report, Mom and Dad) is me “dating” in 2015.

Oh wait, there is one I forgot about!

Bonus round!

I deleted him already but it basically went somethin’ like this:

Mr. Foot Fettish?

Him texting me: What do you do, what do you like to do, do you want to have kids, what do you look for in a man, blah blah blah. What made you decide to reach out to me?

I joked: I didn’t, you reached out to me. (he wasn’t really happy with that answer-we met online, he emailed me, I wrote him back).

Him: blah blah blah, California, new to Austin, yadda yadda, I live DT here, yadda yadda software sales, blah blah wine emoji, treat ladies right blah blah and we texted quite a bit that first night (as I wrote out my xmas card list and watched the Good Wife in the background). We texted about meeting up in a few days, tossed around ideas.

Him: I treat women right blah blah blah. I take care of myself and get pedis (which I have nothing against). blah blah texty text a lot, where ya from, holiday plans, blah blah, do you like what you do, where all have you traveled, airplane emoji, blah blah blah, yadda yadda,

Him some more: I lived in LA forever.

Me: Really, did you like it? I think it is kind of pretentious, but maybe I should visit again.

Him: OMG yes I love LA, it is the best you must visit again! Do you get pedis?

Me: When I can.

Him: I think you can tell a lot about a woman by the way she takes care of her feet.

Me: Well then, I think my feet say-she’s a hard working woman that doesn’t make time for a pedi sometimes. haha

Him: Send me a picture

Me: No, I am busy

Him: Come on, if you don’t send me a pic, I am not taking you out on a date.

Me: I am not sending you a photo of my feet. I actually still have boots on anyway.

Him: Well no date and wine for you until you send me a picture of those feet.

Me: Ok

–And that was that, never got that wine–

foot fettish

(come on, I had to post that image above, too funny, thanks Google images)

You are welcome.

Bring on 2016…and the dating revelations (inspired by Aziz) I will attempt to put into play.